As yesterday was Shrove Tuesday we had pancakes, or rather crepes, the thinner version that is my preference.
The day is named for the Christian custom of being ‘shriven’ before Lent. The idea was to go to confession and be given absolution. Pancake day was the time to use up rich foods such as sugar, milk, and eggs, before starting the Lenten fast.
Spring fasting (in the northern hemisphere) dates back to Roman times. The women of Rome observed a period of chastity and fasting throughout the Kalends of March after their Matronalia or Feast of the Mothers, until the festival of Ceres in April. This custom, originally intended to ensure the fertility and vitality of the crops, was copied by the Christian church and converted into the forty day fast of Lent.
“For forty days eggs would not last
so eat them up before you fast.”