Tomorrow is Pancake Day, and my son is already eagerly awaiting dinner time so he can watch his dad flip pancakes to try and get them to hit the ceiling! The day is also known as Shrove Tuesday. For Christians, Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration and feasting before the fasting period of Lent begins the next day (Ash Wednesday). It is also known as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), hence the celebrations seen in New Orleans and Brazil.
Most years, you will hear people announcing what they are giving up for Lent, be it alcohol, chocolate, smoking... A few years ago, my mum told me of an idea put forward by the vicar of her Church to take up something for Lent, eg, joining a prayer or study group, volunteering time once a week to clean the Church, ironing!
I thought this was quite a nice idea, and this year it has been embraced by several organisations, notably Christian Aid with their Count Your Blessings campaign. The Diocese of St Alban's (in which I live) have also launched Challenge 2010. By signing up you receive a daily Bible reading, and the challenge is to read it, learn it, pray it, and do it.
I have signed up and hope the daily reading will provide a bit of focus for me during Lent, even if I don't manage to achieve all the challenges. If all else fails, I am also giving up chocolate and alcohol!