Following Shrove Tuesday yesterday, today is Ash Wednesday, the official first day of Lent during the Christian year and the prelude to Easter. Lent represents the 40 days that Jesus Christ spent in the wilderness, fasting and contemplating his mission on earth. Known as the ‘Day of Ashes’ because of the practice of having ash rubbed & drawn on the forehead in the shape of a cross (representing Christ’s crucifixion), by a priest at the dedicated Ash Wednesday church service. The priest and participants from the church congregation intone the phrase either the words:-
“Repent, and believe in the Gospel”or the dictum “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Anglican,Catholic and most Protestant and Christians hold Ash Wednesday services around the world. Following the service, participants observe some sort of fasting,abstinence and spiritual contemplation for 40 Days, ending on Maundy Thursday in 2018.
The practice of using ash comes from the 11th Century and is taken from the Biblical Book of Daniel, where ashes are regarded as a sign of Penance & fasting. The ashes are normally made by the burning of palm crosses. These palm crosses were handed out to church congregations during the previous year’s Palm Sunday service (commemorating Christ’s entry into Jerusalem to crowds waving palm leaves in celebration) and given back to the priest shortly before Ash Wednesday. The priest will then burn the crosses and mix the ash normally with Holy Oil to sanctify and make a ‘paste’ with which to rub on the participant’s forehead.
Today is shrove Tuesday, which has now become better known as Pancake Day.
What is Shrove Tuesday about? Has it become just a day of cooking and tossing pancakes?
Shrove Tuesday is the last day of merriment and feasting before Lent begins in earnest.
But in truth and in its history, today is about penitence. Shrove Tuesday got its name from the ritual of shriving, which early Christians used to do.
The act of shriving meant that Christians would confess their sins and their shortcomings and in so doing will receive absolutions.
Absolution means the person will be forgiven of his sins and released from his guilt and pain that he had caused.
This tradition is very old.
It was a custom and tradition of the early Christians to confess their sins a week before the start of Lent to their priest/confessor, who shall so shrive them.
Today is not only about pancake but a time to think about the wrong deeds that we have done or have continued doing. We must be penitent of them.
On the happier side, Shrove Tuesday is also about partying and feasting. Time to cook and serve all the foods that may have to be given up for the sober Lent to come. Barbecue the meat and fish and make pastas so no food are wasted for the coming Lent. Today is like a Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday.
Pancake became the ideal food for Tuesday because it uses up all the fats, milk and eggs with the addition of flour.
Binondo Church, Manila Philippines, Photo by JMorton
Simbang Gabi (Philippine Christmas Tradition)
Puto Bungbong, Photo by Bless Mercado
Bibingka, Photo by Bless Mercado
Simband Gabi is a tradition of the Roman Catholics of the the Philippines. It is going to church to attend mass from midnight or early hours in the morning.
This mass at dawn is a nine-day devotional religious and cultural tradition which starts on 16 December and ending on the 24th of December. These series of masses herald the coming of Christmas as well as a homage to the Virgin Mary.
It is December! It is officially Christmas Season. Give Love of Christmas. It is the time to send Christmas cards to nearest and dearest, including to those often forgotten and overlooked relatives and acquaintances. 🙂 It is time to set up the Christmas Tree. It is time to buy presents and gift, know your budget. It is time to party. It is the to visit the relatives. And most important of all it is the time to celebrate a most spiritual Birthday of all. Happy Birthday to our Lord, Jesus!