The Day before Lent

The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the start of lent, has long been called Fat Tuesday  (Mardi Gras if you speak French) or Pancake Tuesday if you come out of England. 

For some reason, growing up Lutheran in the Pacific Northwest, I completely missed the whole thing. When my husband used to work in Wisconsin and Michigan, (before we met), pirogues always showed up at work but there was nothing in my childhood or even through my young adult life that marked the day as being any different from any other. I was in my mid-thirties before I discovered that folks had food traditions around the day before Ash Wednesday – and I learned about them by reading about them. I don’t know where I was to have missed this. Was it just not done in the Pacific Northwest? Left behind with the family furniture when folks were loading up the wagon and heading out cross country? Or maybe it was just my own family where many things, including perhaps some traditions, got lost in the process of a generational pattern of families breaking apart and moving away from each other.

At any rate, I am noticing a number of my friends on Facebook are getting out the griddles and mixing up the pancakes today. Or at least they are talking about their plans in their status messages.  Oddly, this year, I find myself with mixed emotions.