As the Church anticipates the Season of Lent, the evening before Ash Wednesday is called “Fat Tuesday” or Shrove Tuesday. Rich foods are consumed as the faithful prepare for time of fasting, abstinence, confession and penance.
Customs and practices arose for Fat Tuesday where people would empty their pantries of many items restricted during Lent.
One of the terms often used with Mardi Gras is “carnival.” We picture huge public celebrations or parades. Anyone who visits one of the big carnivals held on this day usually bring back stories of self-indulgence and hedonism that make most people blush.
Ironically, carnival comes from the Latin “carne vale” which means “farewell to meat” or “farewell to flesh” indicating the end to certain pleasures has come.
In some parts of the Christian world the commonly used term for the day is “Shrove Tuesday.” To “shrive” means to present oneself for confession, penance and absolution. In some early practice, Lent was preceded by Shrovetide the week before Lent.
The faithful were called to go to confession during that time in preparation for the Lenten observance.
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