Shrove Tuesday was marked in the Middle Ages with an annual cleaning of the old stockpot each spring, clearing out all of the meats and fats that had simmered within it throughout the year as preparation for a 40 day meatless diet.
Although carnival antics in New Orleans and other cities get center stage, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi gras, or Fat Tuesday, was honored at churches nationwide with pancake suppers. Traditionally run by the men of the congregation, the purpose of the gathering is to welcome the season of Lent, the 40 day liturgical period of prayer and fasting observed until its culmination on Easter Sunday.
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Sara Vanden Berge is the managing editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @ETeditor.