Nicola here. Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, a date that is a particular favourite of mine for two reasons, firstly because my husband and I had our first date over a pile of homemade pancakes on a Shrove Tuesday long ago and secondly because, well, I just love pancakes. Here is a picture of yesterday's feast!
In the Christian tradition the 40 days of Lent, which begin today, are a time of prayers and fasting, abstaining from a whole range of foods, including meat, eggs, fish, fats and milk. Shrove Tuesday itself was the day you were summoned to church to be “shriven” and confess your sins before Lent. The shriving bell would be rung to call people to confession.
Shrove Tuesday therefore was the very last day you can indulge in treats for 40 days. After that, all edible temptation has to be removed. So the making of pancakes was a great way to use up eggs, butter and other stocks of food that would be out of bounds for the following 40 days.