Thursday, 2 February 2017
The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of Confession and doing penance. Thus Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the custom for Christians to be "shriven" before the start of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is the last day of "shrovetide", somewhat analogous to the Carnival tradition that developed separately in countries of Latin Europe.
In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Canada, Shrove Tuesday is alternatively known as "Pancake Day" or "Pancake Tuesday" due to the tradition of eating pancakes on the day.
Catholic and Protestant countries traditionally call the day before Ash Wednesday "Fat Tuesday" or "Mardi Gras". The name predated the Reformation and referred to the common Christian tradition of eating special rich foods before the fasting season of Lent.
In Germany it is known as Fastnachtsdienstag (also spelled Faschingsdienstag, or Karnevalsdienstag) or Veilchendienstag . It is often celebrated with street processions (called Karnevalsumzüge) or fancy dress. The processions are typically smaller than the ones on Rosenmontag. In Kindergartens and most Elementary Schools it is celebrated with fancy dress. When celebrated in schools, it is normally handled as a kind of half-holiday: classes are off and the school day begins some hours later.
In the Netherlands it is known as "vastenavond", though the word "vastelaovond" usually refers to the entire period of carnival in the Netherlands.