Q. 1. What does Shrove Tuesday mean in the Catholic Church?
A. 1. In Australia and Great Britain, "Shrove Tuesday" is very popular. "Shrove Tuesday" is the name of the day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. It is also known as "Pancake Tuesday" and "Fat Tuesday" (meaning "Mardi Gras" in French).
The word "Shrove" is the past tense of the English verb "Shrive" which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and by doing penance.
The week prior to Ash Wednesday is called Shrovetide. The last day of that week, the Tuesday, is called "Shrove Tuesday." Shrovetide is an English word that is synonym to the word "Carnival." It is a time when the faithful celebrate in preparation for the arrival of Lent when they are called to fast from eggs, milk, butter and fat.
On "Shrove Tuesday," the faithful deplete their supply of eggs, milk, butter and fat. For that reason, in England, they celebrate "Pancake Tuesday." Such permits them to deplete their food supply in the pancake recipe.
"Shrove Tuesday" is also the day when Catholics are encouraged to go to confession in preparation for the penitential Season. To shrive means to hear confessions, assign penance and absolve from sin.