ARDSLEY, N.Y. – Pancakes and sausages for dinner may not immediately come to mind when thinking of Lent, but Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, is held the day before Ash Wednesday at churches across the country each year.
“The idea of Shrove Tuesday is to prepare ourselves for the season of Lent,” said Frank Morales, a priest at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. “It’s kind of like fueling up as we move through into Easter.”
Lent is the period of time celebrated by Christians as an observance of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday and culminating with Easter Sunday.
Pancakes are the meal of choice on Shrove Tuesday because of the ingredients that comprise the typical breakfast dish. The fat, sugar, flour and eggs were ingredients that were traditionally restricted during the fasting period of Lent.
“There were certain things during Lent that historically they didn’t eat so it’s kind of like your last opportunity to eat some of those things,” said Ivan Kimball, junior warden of the Vestry at St. Barnabas. “It’s also called Fat Tuesday, which is celebrated in New Orleans in a different fashion. It’s kind of like the last hurrah.”
The celebratory dinner is a longstanding tradition, especially at St. Barnabas where many senior citizens attended the meal in Ardsley.
“We’ve been doing it forever, I can’t remember not doing it,” said Hope Sutherland, a 40-year member of the church.
While the event is always open to the public, it isn’t usually advertised to people outside of the church. This year St. Barnabas had the village send out an invitation to all the local residents.
“It’s a nice event and we thought it would be a good idea to let the public know about it,” said Stephen Groth, a member of the church and a lifelong Ardsley resident. “Within the church it’s very popular so we wanted to share it with everyone else.”