“Let’s all be Hippies for a day!”
What do the phrases Pancake Day, Mardi gras, Faschingsdienstag and Martes de Carnaval all have in common? They’re all names for the age old festival of Carnival – or Shrove Tuesday as we also know it.
Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the fasting period of Lent in Western Christian churches. It’s a day to celebrate Carnival, bake pancakes, and prepare for the 40 days of fasting before the most important festival of Easter.
Did you know that the word Shrove means being absolved from sin through confession and penance? And that the word Lent comes from the old English lencten, meaning Spring season?
Before the Lenten fasting, people traditionally use up ingredients they were not allowed to eat during this time - especially ingredients that would spoil, like eggs and milk. And what better way to use these ingredients, than to bake pancakes and waffles? This is how Shrove Tuesday also became known as Pancake Day or Mardi gras (Fat Tuesday - from using up all the fats in the kitchen)!
Other countries have their own food traditions:
- Crêpes and waffles in France
- Pea soup and blinis in Finland
- Almond buns or semlor in Sweden
- Filled doughnuts or pączki in Poland
- Omelettes or tortillas in Spain
As well as preparing for fasting, the days before Lent are often filled with Carnival. The word is said to come from the simplified Latin “carne levare” or “carne vale” (goodbye, meat!)
Carnival may also derive from another Latin word “carrus navalis,” a colorful wooden boat people carried through the streets during an old Spring celebration. These boats, or “parade floats,” still are an essential part of Carnival celebrations today. And nowadays, most people think of Mardi Gras as being Carnival parades in New Orleans and other cities in French-speaking territories.
At Camphill Community Glencraig
So, we were inspired by all of this to hold our own Carnival here at Glencraig!
Residents, co workers and staff gathered together for their own activities and celebrations on the morning of Tuesday 21st February. The theme was Peace and Love and we had a wonderful gathering of bright and colourful hippies on Comgall Lawn.
Everyone really enjoyed themselves and we got some fabulous pictures from the day - with Stephan tossing a pancake, circus games and displays and plate spinning.
*Thanks to https://www.timeanddate.com/ for this information!