Shrove Tuesday, more commonly known as ‘Pancake Day’, is not just a day to eat a gazillion pancakes – guilt free – in fact, religiously it is the start of ‘Lent’ in which you use up all the ‘sweet’ and ‘indulgent’ products in your kitchen prior to the 40 day fast. The name shrove comes from the word “shrive”, meaning ‘absolution for sins by doing penance’.The day gets it’s name from the tradition of Christians trying to be ‘shriven’ before Lent. Pancakes became associated with Shrove Tuesday as followers of the faith used up rich foods, including eggs, milk and sugar before they began their fast during Lent!
In the Christian faith, Lent is a time of reflection for many Christians, as they look back on and celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ. But what is Lent? In essence, Lent is a time to give things up. For Christians, this is a way to remember the time Jesus spent 40 days and nights alone in the Judaean desert, being tempted by Satan. As Jesus fasted during this time, Christians identify with this state by giving up particular foods during the 40 days of Lent, including products containing meat, fish, milk and eggs. But why is it now people use ‘Lent’ to give up chocolate, sweets or carbs just like it’s another celebrity food fad?
Typically a household would give up meat, eggs and dairy products for the 40 day period. Yet nowadays ‘Lent’ has become less about giving up food to reflect on Jesus’ 40 day fast and to “purify their bodies”, and rather more about abstaining/fasting ‘just because’. The amount of times I ‘tried’ to give up chocolate for Lent as a kid is really quite hilarious especially when chocolate ‘lindor’ eggs would sabotage my effort after a few hours (I have no willpower – none!)
However, is it really so bad to try and take ‘Lent’, whether you’re religious or not, as a time to ‘detox’ and ‘purify’ your body or mind. Sometimes we just need a little push in the right direction! It supposedly takes 21 days to create a habit, so give up chocolate, fizzy drinks or negative thoughts for the 40 day Lent period and you’re set for good! No?
So whether you are religious or not, what are some of the best things to give up in order to really benefit yourself; physically and mentally?
Chocolate & Sweet Food
There are so many things people have been known to give up, tangible or other ways. The best and most common Lent favourites are definitely chocolate, sweets, crisps, cakes and biscuits.
Yet, besides giving up your sweet tooth, there are other clever and mindfully beneficial ones such as giving up ‘social media’. This would be an amazing one for someone that finds themselves constantly on their phone obsessively scrolling through instagram,twitter and snapchat but as a teenager and as someone who uses social media for work its wouldn’t be so easy! Regardless, if you find you want to give up social media without actually giving up social media for 40 days, you could limit your time a.k.a no social media till after 12pm?
However, if you aren’t doing it for the religious aspect, never forget that it is okay to take a break – it is okay to have a cheeky chocolate on a special occasion if you’re out and don’t really want to be the party pooper and deny eating someone’s birthday cake (did you know it is apparently bad luck to not eat someone’s cake on their birthday!)
What are you going to give up for Lent?
Words By Maija Lily
The UK's first Career & Lifestyle Magazine for women in the Creative and Media industries.