Did you know...

Many of you know that the traditional food for Mardi Gras (a.k.a Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday) is pancakes, because most churches have pancake suppers that night. I always figured that we ate pancakes because they would fatten us up before the fast, and they'd represent a last hurrah before Lent begins the next day. However, as I was reading my fab new book about Russian Folk Songs by Vadim Prokhorov, I learned that this holiday, like many other Christian holidays, has its roots in pagan celebrations. Apparently, the Shrovetide holiday, especially in cold countries like Russia, was used to bid farewell to winter and celebrate the coming warm season. They ate pancakes, whose round shape and light color embodied the sun. Isn't that interesting? Now, I can't be certain that our American Protestant pancake-supper tradition comes from that, but at first glance, it seems related. Incidentally, one of the other fun things to do on that holiday was to light a bonfire (also representing the sun) and jump over it. I think I'll skip out on that one.

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