Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Pancakes, Pretzels and Pennies

Today is Shrove Tuesday the day that we make and eat pancakes to symbolise the using up of the food supplies in our home, ready for the penitential season of Lent, which starts tomorrow Ash Wednesday. Shrove is taken from the old English verb shrive, meaning to obtain absolution for sins. It is also quite common on this day to have pancake races, with groups of people running along the street with frying pans and tossing the pancakes as they run.

No this is not a tatted valentine heart gone wrong! It is supposed to be a pretzel. Pretzels I discovered have a deep spiritual meaning for Lent. In fact, it was the ancient Christian Lenten bread as far back as the fourth century. In the old Roman Empire, the faithful kept a very strict fast all through Lent: no milk, no butter, no cheese, no eggs, no cream, and no meat. They made small breads of water, flour, and salt, to remind themselves that Lent was a time of prayer. They shaped these breads in the form of crossed arms for in those days they crossed their arms over the breast while praying. Therefore they called the breads "little arms" (bracellae). From this Latin word, the Germanic people later coined the term "pretzel".

So in church on Sunday I gave every one a little bag of pretzels tied with purple ribbon, the real ones not tatted ones! Of course Sunday coincided with Valentine's day so may be I should have tatted them all hearts!

Now it was forty years ago this week that we here in England said goodbye to our beloved £ s d.
Or pounds, shillings and pence. Here is a farewell pack, to remind everyone of the days when there were twelve pence in a shilling. Which leads me on to say that Lent consists of forty days and forty nights - a time when people choose to give up something for Lent, like wine or chocolates and give the money they would have spent on these luxury items, to a worthy cause. Other people take on more tasks during Lent. All I can say is that in our house we will still be eating, milk, butter, cheese, eggs cream and meat during Lent! After all 'im in the garage' needs them to give him energy to make more shuttles!


  1. Quite right too. Feed that man - we need more shuttles!!!!

  2. I for one, want to express my appreciation for the history lesson and how it relates to our lenten season. I find these subjects fascinating. Especially 'why' we give up luxuries for Lent (if we are so disposed). I did not grow up with these traditions; but, they are a part of our church year. It is nice to know there is a common sense 'why' behind the customs; and, very good that they are not lost and become empty ritual. Thank you for the teaching on this Shrove Tuesday. In Him, Beverly

    PS does 'im in the garage' have a name? :>)

  3. Well, even though I was not aware it was Shrove Tuesday, I have been snacking on pretzels, so I think I'm meeting the spirit of the day. LOL!

    Thanks for sharing the tidbits and trivia. Always fascinating!

  4. Australia made the changeover to the tune of a catchy little jingle that urged us all to "be prepared when the coins start to mix/on the 14th of February 1966".
    Interesting about the pretzels! It's so good to have traditions to follow. I keep thinking I ought to give up tatting for Lent - but I think that would be beyond me!

  5. I always enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for sharing this info with us. And a big thank you for taking good care of 'im in the garage.' There are several of us looking forward to more shuttles. Karen

  6. Thank you for your post today which I read upon returning home after our family's yearly pancake dinner out. Happy Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras.
    Also thanks for the photo of the Lsd. I had forgotten what the old coins looked like. What fun.

  7. Always wondered about the meaning of 'shriven', a word to whose sound I am drawn! Never looked it up and - presto - there it is on your informative blog! Thanks for the info.
    Fox : )

  8. Great post, 40 years gosh. Yup do feed 'im in the garage!

  9. Hi Bev, I think it is also very important to keep up the traditions of the church, they are there for a reason often to focus our minds on other people and not ourselves. Him in the garage is called Nick, the same as Jane's other half!
    Isdihara snacking on pretzels sounds good to me, but I hope you share them?!!!
    Maureen giving up tatting for Lent - unthinkable!!!
    Karen - well thanks for kind comment - yes I am taking care of "im in the garage" he is in there now!
    HJ - We had a sort of Mardi Gras in the church service, I even made masks!
    Fox - its amazing what you can learn from blogs
    Tatskool - time goes by very quickly! Infact too quickly!


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