Shrove Tuesday of parish feasts

Traditionally, Parish Celebrations has held a pancake supper at Sweetland Hall on Shrove Tuesday each year – but we haven’t quite gotten back to where we can congregate that way! So we offer the following as a way for you and your family to commemorate Mardi Gras and start the season of Lent.

The history and tradition of Mardi Gras

The 40-day season of Lent officially begins on Ash Wednesday. The day before, Mardi Gras, always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between February 3 and March 9. In 2022, Mardi Gras will fall on March 1. Along with our Catholic friends, Anglicans around the world traditionally celebrate Ash Wednesday, but few of us can match our historical counterparts in observing any type of Lenten fast, which traditionally begins at this time.

Mardi Gras takes its name from the ritual of confessing one’s sins before Lent, known as the “shrive”, which was a tradition in Europe dating back to the Middle Ages. When a person receives absolution for their sins, they are forgiven for them and freed from the guilt and pain that the sins have caused. In the Catholic or Orthodox context, absolution is pronounced by a priest. On All Saints Day in 2022, absolution appears in the form of a bonfire where people offer written representations of the things in their lives that they wish to release or transform.

An early church tradition during Lent recommended abstaining from all that was killed and from the products – such as milk and eggs – of these animals. In the days of pre-chilling, this meant eating a lot of food so it wouldn’t spoil in the weeks leading up to Easter. Thus, Mardi Gras is also an opportunity to indulge and use foods that were not allowed during Lent. Give up food, but don’t waste it. Families feasted on Mardi Gras and ate all the foods that would not last the forty days of Lent.

In the Anglican and Episcopal churches, pancakes became associated with Shrove Tuesday because they were a dish that could use all the eggs, fats, and milk in the house with just the addition of flour. In the UK, pancake races form an important part of Mardi Gras celebrations – an occasion for large numbers of people, often in costume, to run through the streets tossing pancakes. The object of the race is to reach the finish line first, by carrying a frying pan containing a cooked pancake and flipping the pancake as you run. Legend has it that in 1445, a woman in Olney, UK was baking pancakes when the church bells began to ring announcing the service. Carrying her frying pan and wearing an apron, she ran to get to church on time.

Mardi Gras is a tradition celebrated in many places around the world and goes by many names. In many places, the celebration takes the form of a carnival, the name of which derives from Latin as “removing the meat”. Perhaps the most famous being Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in New Orleans.

In Germany, Shrove is known as fausching and involves cowbells, yodeling, and lots of sauerkraut and beer.

In Spain and Mexico, Shrove is Dia de la Torta, or Omelette Day. In Hawaii, Malasada Day is celebrated with a fried puff pastry of the same name. In Estonia and Finland, the fatty meal is pea soup. In Iceland, it’s salted meat and more split peas.

The usual treat for Shrove in New Orleans is the King Cake, a garish but edible pastry sprinkled with purple, gold and green sugar, with a plastic baby inside. If you get the slice with the baby, you’re in luck! (and you’re on the hook to provide the cake next year!)

At All Saints Church Pasadena, we have traditionally hosted a pancake supper at Sweetland Hall on the Tuesday evening before Ash Wednesday to welcome the start of the Lenten season. Obviously, Mardi Gras this year will be different. But that doesn’t mean we’ll have to do without pancakes! We’d like to help you continue this tasty tradition at home, with some ideas to get you started.

Create Your Own Mardi Gras Pancake Supper

We may not be gathering at Sweetland Hall for pancakes this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Mardi Gras!

Here are some recipe suggestions – traditional and otherwise – to share with the family.

If you are a Facebook user, we also invite you to consult the Group of recipes from the book of all saints at, where you’ll find even more sweet and savory pancake recipe ideas to inspire you for your pancake feast. All parishioners are encouraged to contribute to our virtual cookbook by sharing favorite family recipes, photos and stories about meals and dishes that are special to you – whether you’re a chef, an aspiring cook, a creative lover or a foodie!

Traditional Buttermilk Pancakes
When done right, there’s nothing quite like it!

buckwheat pancakes
Old fashioned and hearty!

Blueberry Ricotta Lemon Pancakes
A bit more work than the others, but totally worth it!

german pancakes
Six simple ingredients, baked instead of grilled

Share with others: Food drive for Lent

In addition to cooking one or more of the delicious recipes above, we would also like to encourage you to help members of our community who are experiencing food insecurity.

On Sunday, February 27, on the lawn during Sunday services, we will be collecting food, household items and grocery gift cards to be delivered to the Learning Works Charter School pantry. Their pantry plays a crucial role in Learning Works’ overall service approach of helping traditionally underserved and neglected students complete their education and begin adulthood on a solid footing.

Please consider bringing something – unopened and unexpired – from the list below with you on Sunday mornings to help make a positive difference in the lives of Learning Works students and families.

  • Grocery gift cards (consider dividing your contribution into smaller amounts – for example, rather than one $60 card, consider three $20 cards or six $10 cards – this gives Learning Works more flexibility in how they deal the cards).
  • Beans, rice, cereal, juice boxes, canned vegetables and fruits, peanut butter, ramen and Cup O’Noodles
  • Baby food and formula
  • Soap, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, paper towels, Clorox wipes and sanitizer

And finally, we would like to encourage you to take a look at some suggestions for your own Lenten experiences.

Filling our minds during Lent

Let’s take a look at some ways to nurture ourselves spiritually. The tradition in Lent is to go without for 40 days, but for the past two years we have had to live without so much!

So instead of choosing something to take out of your life, consider adding something during Lent. Start by finding a quiet moment to sit down and stare at the pantry of your mind and spirit. Are there things stored there that could be thrown away? Old ideas, ways of thinking or assumptions? Gently ask that they go away, leaving room on your shelves for something new.

Can we suggest (thanks to Staci Kennelly, Ministry of Spiritual Direction):

Meditation. There are free online sites, here is one that reviews some of them: and free apps, like UCLA Mindful (also in Spanish).

For a sweet Yoga class, look Yoga with Adriennethere’s a 30-day yoga journey for beginners, free on YouTube.

daily prayer. There’s the Pray As You Go app, or online at, a beautiful and sweet Celtic prayer every day of the week plus one for the weekend. Free, although donations are welcome.

Go for a walk. Everyday. Start slow and increase over time. In your neighborhood or up in our beautiful hills. Go alone or with the whole family. Phone apps can track your progress.

Send a note/card or call someone who lives alone, just to let them know you are thinking of them. Maybe even get together if possible.

Read a book or start/join a reading group.

Here are some great Lenten picks:

Ignatian Training for Lent: 40 Days of Prayer, Reflection and Action, Tim Muldon. Forty short exercises – organized according to the four “weeks” of prayer of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius.

Bread & Wine, Readings for Lent and EasterA collection of meaningful and accessible devotions by various authors – Augustine, Eckhart, Gibran, Merton, Tolstoy, Wilde, CS Lewis, etc.

Praying Lent: Renewing Our Lives on the Lenten Journeyby Andy Alexander, SJ, “Reminds the reader that if we focus too much on what we are giving up, we risk missing the message of what God wants to give us during this grace-filled time.”

Participate in activities from Lent to All Saints. Check Lenten events and small groups page for more information on what’s offered this year.

Happy Lent and Happy Easter!

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