What Is Shrove Tuesday?

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Shrove Tuesday falls on the same day as Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, and is intended as a day of reflection and spiritual consideration before Lent. The word "shrove" comes from the archaic English word "shrive," which refers to the act of acknowledging a person's confessions and troubles and offering spiritual advice and reassurance of God's forgiving nature. In addition to also being known as Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday may also be known as Pancake Tuesday thanks to the practice of making pancakes as a means of using up certain restricted ingredients, such as fat, sugar and eggs, prior to the beginning of Lent.

As another facet of the elaborate preparations that are part of the run-up to Lent, Shrove Tuesday offers those who observe the Lenten season an opportunity to prepare themselves for spiritual growth, though this is not necessarily a somber occasion. Shrove Tuesday is part of the celebrations that take place on the day before Ash Wednesday. The pancake-focused aspect of the holiday is part of the celebratory and indulgent process of spiritual preparation.