It's the Day of Many Names, which provided for confusion amongst many in the schoolyard this morning. "What the heck is Pancake Tuesday??? Shrove Tuesday?" When S.Rube told me last night that "we need to eat pancakes tomorrow. Mrs. Learn (yes, that is really and truly her teacher's name) told us we need to eat pancakes tomorrow", I knew precisely that she was referring to Pancake Tuesday. I grew up with the annual event, and, rather than having them for breakfast, I recall having them for dinner every year on this special day. And I'm sure there were years where my mom spent her day at school making pancakes for all of the kids.
But, could I tell you the significance of it? Not really. My answer to the other moms this morning was sketchy at best. None of them indicated that they had any clue what I was talking about and had never heard of Pancake Tuesday. I said something like "I'm not sure what it means. I think it might have something to do with Lent starting, and something called Shrove Tuesday, which is obviously very Christian-based. So maybe us unChristians came up with our own unreligious version and made it all about pancakes. mmmmm." and maple syrup of course.
And then my American friends mentioned that it was Fat Tuesday. (Leave it to the Americans to call it like it is, eh?). Which instantly triggered the words "Mardi Gras" in my head. They explained that Fat Tuesday comes the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent. So, today is the last day to party it up before you give it all up for Lent. (think New Orleans and lots of boobs!)
Wikipedia provided me with some answers. Today IS Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and Mardi Gras, depending on where you're from and what Christian religion you subscribe to. It IS the day of gluttony prior to abstaining for Lent. Pancake Tuesday or Pancake Day is specific to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada, where eating rich pancakes on Shrove Tuesday helped to use up the eggs, milk and sugar that would be given up for Lent.
So, eat and drink whatever the hell you want today, all in the name of whatever the hell you want to call it. (a great excuse to empty a couple of bottles of wine mid-week....)
In this house, I shall sit on my Pagan fence and call it Waffle Tuesday, and we'll eat them because S.Rube doesn't like pancakes (you try telling her that they're the same thing). and we'll eat them just because we like them, not because we're giving them up tomorrow. and we'll eat them because "Mrs. Learn said it was okay for us to eat waffles instead of pancakes."