Simply, Shrove Tuesday is the day before the season of Lent starts. It is also known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or Carnival. A time of feasting before a time of quiet solemnity in the church year.
Lent is typically a time of reflection on Christ's life, death and resurrection. Ancient Christians and today's Catholics and some more liturgical protestants, spend Lent as a fast from certain things. Sort of a way of observing how Christ was sacrificed for our sins. In preparation for giving up they would use up all the flour, sugar and fat in their cupboards so it wouldn't go bad. An easy way to do that was in something like a pancake. So this day is traditionally spent at pancake suppers, eating fried foods like doughnuts, or delicious cakes like the King Cake.
I was raised in the Episcopal church where Lent is observed. The church I attend today does not observe Lent really, but I think the seasons of the Liturgical year are an excellent way to teach your kids about Christ, to teach them as you go along in your life. It provides a reason to talk about Christ and our faith. The bible models this, I believe, in the festivals and special days of remembrance (such as passover).
If you'd like to incorporate these things into your family, here are some ideas.
- Ann Voskamp's beautiful 17 day devotional "Behold The Lamb," incorporates art and bible verses to help families prepare for the observation of Christ's Resurrection.
- 2008 Anglican Family Lent on the A TenO'Clock Scholar blog is lots of ideas for experiencing Lent with your children. There are also some interesting books for children on the liturgical year here.
- You can also see more details about activities I do with my family here.
I hope you will take some time from now until April spending time with your family looking into this person named Jesus who is the Christ. This is a season of remembrance. It is time well spent.