Perhaps you're having these...

or these...

for supper tonight in celebration of "Pancake Day" - or what we know as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).

If you are, did you ever wonder for what reason we practice this somewhat unique culinary custom? (Granted, who wouldn't take any excuse to have tasty pancakes for supper? Breakfast-for-supper, anyone?)

Shrove Tuesday occurs the day before Lent begins -- tomorrow's Ash Wednesday. "Shrove" is the shortened form of "Shrovetide" which at one time was the equivalent to "Carnival" (from the Latin origin of carnem levare which means "to take away the flesh"). This time of Lent -- 40 days -- is meant to be a sacred time of purification and growing in one's Christian life, of casting off things of the flesh and of the world. In striving for this, one is to be "shriven" - to be forgiven one's sins -- in the Sacrament of Confession before beginning the holy season of Lent. What better way to begin Christ's journey in the desert than with a purified soul and a stomach fortified by pancakes? (Think of the prophet Elijah and his escape from Jezebel & Ahab before encountering the Lord -- see 1 Kings 19.)

For more information and interesting tidbits about how to better prepare for Lent, have a watch and listen to Fr. Mike Schmitz:

And before you go, to up your Lent game this year, check out this free Lent Calendar app from -- available for both Apple and android products! This Lent, give God a moment of your time -- wherever you are!