Last Tuesday was Pancake Day. Or, to give it it’s proper name, Shrove Tuesday.
Now I always have pancakes on Pancake Day, I love pancakes, but I rarely give a thought as to why we have pancakes on Pancake Day?
NB: For the Americans out there, what we in the UK call pancakes you call crepes. What you call pancakes, I would probably call dropped scones. Or maybe not, I’m not entirely sure of the recipe. But anyway…
For those that don’t know, Shrove Tuesday (aka Fat Tuesday; aka Mardi Gras) is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent in the Christian calendar. It’s your last chance to go big before giving something up for forty days and nights as a kind of spiritual cleansing and/or penance. And the reason you eat pancakes is to use up the eggs, milk and flour that would normally go off before the forty days of Lent are up.
Now I don’t consider myself particularly religious, but I thought this year that I’d give it a go. But what to give up?
I’ve had this low-level Pringles addiction going on for a while now. Once opened, a tube in my house will rarely last til morning. I don’t blame the Pringles. I mean, they warn you in the advertising; ‘Once you pop, you can’t stop!’ But do I listen? Do I ‘eck as like!
So I’m going to lay off the Pringles for the next forty days (FYI: day forty is Palm Sunday, the 20th of March). In fact I’m going to cut out all fried crisp type things altogether. That includes Hula Hoops, Squares, Monster Munch, vegetable crisps, in fact anything that comes in a little pack and has way more fat, salt and sugar than they should. But mostly it’s the Pringles.
Denying yourself something like this is, I find, good spiritual practice. It allows you to exercise self-discipline, mindfulness, force of will, and in the end when you are finished you feel much better about yourself and what you have achieved.
But I don’t just want this to be a ‘negative’ experience, and have it be all about taking something away. So I’m going to meditate for thirty minutes every day too, to add something to my life as well. I’ve always found it hard to start a regular meditative routine, so this is my opportunity to give it a go and see how I get on. And it’s just for forty days. I think I can do it for that long… probably.
Anyone else giving anything up for Lent? Or maybe you’re adding something positive instead? Let me know in the comments below. I’d be interested to hear how you are getting on.