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What Is Lent And Why Pancakes?
Jan Harris, Assistant Editor
photo by Learning Lark
Lent 2018 begins on Wednesday 14 February and ends on Thursday 29 March. It is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar.

Lent is traditionally described as lasting for 40 days, in commemoration of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. Lent is a time of reflection and preparation before the celebration of Easter.

Why called Lent?

The name comes from an old English work which means 'lengthen' as the days are getting longer in spring when it is observed.

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Why do we eat pancakes?

Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake day) is the day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

Christians traditionally emptied their cupboards of any food that was perishable on Shrove Tuesday, as this couldn't be eaten during the 40 days of Lent, which was traditionally a time for penance and fasting.

So instead of wasting food a feast was created for the whole family' before Lent began the following day when fasting would begin. (Ash Wednesday).

In the UK, Ireland and Commonwealth countries Shrove Tuesday is commonly known as Pancake Day, whereas elsewhere it is often called Mardi Gras which is French for 'Fat Tuesday'.

Pancakes are an easy way of using up rich foods of butter, milk, sugar and eggs.

photo by david pacey
The most common things people give up for Lent:

Chocolate
Alcohol
Smoking
Social networking
A luxury item

Holy Week

The last week of Lent is called Holy Week and culminates with Easter Sunday. Easter is the most important Christian festival which is celebrated with great joy when Easter eggs are enjoyed. Eggs are a symbol of new life and Easter Sunday is the day that Jesus rose from the dead, showing that life could win over death.

What Is Lent And Why Pancakes?, 13th February 2018, 14:56 PM