"Today, many churches hold "Pancake Suppers." These can be great intergenerational events in which all pitch in to cook pancakes, set tables, serve one another and play games."
What Does "Shrove" Mean?
The day before Ash Wednesday is known as Shrove Tuesday. “Shrove” comes from the verb “to shrive” (to confess and receive absolution) prior to the start of the Lenten season. Other names for this day include Carnival (farewell to meat) and Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday of the French tradition).
Although Lenten regulations varied with time and place during the Middle Ages, this was the day all households were to use up all milk, eggs and fat to prepare for the strict fasting of Lent. These ingredients were made into pancakes, a meal which came to symbolize preparation for the discipline of Lent, from the English tradition. Other traditions include French crepes and Russian blini. Dutch and German settlers brought the tradition of making doughnuts filled with raisins and apples to America, and these are still prepared by Pennsylvania Dutch families today.
Today, many churches hold "Pancake Suppers." These can be great intergenerational events in which all pitch in to cook pancakes, set tables, serve one another and play games. Many countries have pancake races (in the old days using the actual hot pancakes and skillets).
Pancake Relay Race
Paper or plastic dinner plates (one per team)
Real pancakes or plastic coffee can lids (1 per team)
1. Divide participants into relay teams, with six to eight participants on each team. Give the starting participant from each team a plate with a pancake (real or plastic).
2. Have each starting participant, with a "pancake" on the plate, run to a finish line and then back to the team. Along the way, use the plate to flip the pancake as they run. Set a minimum number of flips - perhaps six on the way to the turning point and six on the return trip.
3. As each participant returns to the team, he or she should hand the pancake and plate to the next participant. The first team to have all of its members complete the trip wins the relay.
4. For variations, points can be awarded for time, for number and height of flips, and number of times the pancake turns over. There are of course penalties for dropping the pancake.
5. Have fun, encourage one another, and rejoice as the body of Christ!
Sharon Ely Pearson is a 30+ year Christian formation veteran, currently serving as an editor and the Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated. Wife, mother, soon-to-be-grandmother, and author, she enjoys connecting people with each other and the resources they need for growing in the knowledge and love of Jesus.