It’s Pancake Day, a Lenten tradition with roots in the Jewish history of the Christian tradition.
On the day before Passover in observant Jewish homes, the family cleans thoroughly and uses or removes any food that has leaven in it. It’s a symbolic way to let go of old life and embrace the new. Christians morphed this idea into Pancake Day, a time to use up eggs and fats in decadent foods before the deprivation of Lenten fasts began.
Few people I know “give up” anything for Lent anymore.
- Some have abandoned organized religion because they see only the harm that it can cause.
- Others are still a part of a faith community but don’t “give up” because they see that as punitive instead of inspirational.
- Still others don’t “give up” something they love in a way that feels like deprivation or punishment. They examine their lives to find something that is not feeding them mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually, and they give themselves “freedom from” that harmful element.
The minister at my church says Lent is like the time between when a seed is planted and when it sprouts. You know the seed needs to be nourished, but you can’t see any signs of new life yet.
No matter what you believe, this time of year is good for reflection. It’s a time to ponder what you can give yourself freedom from, or what you could take up instead.
Whether you eat pancakes tonight or not, take some time to plant a seed. Nourish it until new life grows.
What kind of sprouts do you want to see?