Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Happy Fasnacht!

Leave it to the English to turn it into "pancake Tuesday", there is something a little more interesting about the German name, probably because I hadn't heard of it before.


"Shrove Tuesday, the eve of Lent -- also known as Mardi Gras (literally 'fat Tuesday' in French), Carnival (from the Latin for 'farewell to the flesh'), and Fasnacht (the Germanic 'night of the fast') -- is celebrated across the world with riotous merrymaking and feasting.

While Brazilians samba in the streets of Rio, and New Orleans throws its most famous party of the year, the English celebrate with Pancake Tuesday. It may seem an unlikely last indulgence, but pancakes use up rich ingredients like butter and eggs from the larder before the pious Lenten fast. Families gather for sweet and savory pancake suppers, and housewives still compete in the peculiar tradition of donning their aprons and racing each other holding pancake-filled skillets. "