Shrove Tuesday fun will usher in Lent

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On Tuesday, Feb. 13, churches all over the world of many denominations and traditions will celebrate Shrove Tuesday.

Actually, millions of people, religious or not, will be celebrating on that day, as it is otherwise known, Mardi Gras.

It is the last day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent. It’s also known as Fastnacht Day, Fat Tuesday (which is English for Mardi Gras), and Pancake Tuesday, to name a few.

In keeping with a longstanding tradition, Grace Episcopal Church will serve its own Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the church, on the corner of 16th Street and McClellan Drive.

There is no charge, but a freewill offering will be taken. The meal includes pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice and coffee.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

The word “shrove” in Shrove Tuesday is the past tense of the word “shrive,” which means the act of confession, or of a priest hearing a confession and pronouncing absolution. Once again, this is tied to the religious season of Lent, where people would confess their sins and be forgiven in order to start the penitential season with a clean slate.

The tradition of eating pancakes on that day comes from the need to use up all of the rich ingredients in the house, such as milk, eggs and sugar, before the Lenten fast begins, with its 40-day emphasis on plain foods and avoidance of things that distract from the serious nature of the season. Pancakes, besides being delicious, are a convenient and tasty way to use up those ingredients all at once.

Another festive (and silly) tradition that grew up around pancakes, mainly in Britain, is the pancake race. In towns all over England, racers dash through the streets with frying pans, flipping their pancakes as they run.

The most famous of these races is held in a town called Olney and has been held every year since 1445. The races are traditionally run by women, but men can join if they dress up as a housewife in an apron and kerchief.

It all adds fun to the joyous nature of Mardi Gras!

Grace Episcopal Church is one of the oldest parishes in Huron, and is a member of the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota.

They meet Sundays at 10 a.m. for communion (all baptized people are welcome to take communion with them), with coffee and fellowship following in the parish hall.

Due to the Shrove Tuesday activities, the weekly Tuesday night prayers will not be held.