Today is Shrove Tuesday. Shrove is the participle of "shrive" which means to be absolved. Traditionally on Shrove Tuesday, people went to the priest to be absolved and have a penance given, which they were to do over the period of Lent. This practice came from when excommunications were more common and Lent was the final step in preparing to receive communion again for the ex-communicants. "Traditionally" Catholics do not eat meat on weekdays of Lent. Orthodox eat no meat, oil or animal products during Lent. In England, usually the last animal product in the house before Lent began was the lard, and so they cook pancakes to use up the lard. Shrove Tuesday pancakes in England are more like crepes, and are (were?) sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice and then rolled up.
Mardi Gras in French, is fat Tuesday for finishing off the fat, and Carnival (Carni=Carne (meat) for finishing off the meat.
We will have our great Forgiveness Service tonight at 9:00 PM and our Lent shall begin tomorrow at 6:30. Please feel free to come to one or both.