Since Easter is relatively early this year, also Shrove Tuesday is already on February the 21st. Shrove Tuesday has a long tradition in Finnish folklore (Laskiainen). Still perhaps the best part, special foods, exist.
Meaty pea soup, pancake in the oven and creamy Shrovetide rolls still belong to the agenda in our old homeland. Ash Wednesday that follows is a day, if not of repentance, but at least of quieting.
Shrove has been a Finnish Mardi Gras, a rustic winter carnival. Old Cathololic festivity preceded forty days of lent, a period of fasting from meat and living decently. Perhaps the most striking example of this is the Samba Carneval in Rio.
Finnish Shrove Tuesday was after all a farmer's jubilee. They took an afternoon off and even the adults went to the sled or ski slopes. The frolicking took place at schools too. Always when they slid down they shouted "May the flax grow tall", so that the crop would be good. To the neighbors' they wished less florishing crops.
The word shrove is an old expression meaning absolution. After frolicking and overeating people confessed their wild living and promised to live in restraint and moderation until Easter. Sometimes Shrove Tuesday is also called Pancake Tuesday referring to one of their main dishes. The word carnival itself comes from Latin carne vale or farewell to meat.
According to Finnish tradition the pea soup must have lots of fat, even the head of a pig and barley scones fried in fat were also prepared.
Shrove Tuesdays, like big festival in general did not use to be exactly theme days for weight watchers, but it's still the same. These days its rare that someone quits meat before Easter, albeit it is a nice ideal. However meatless diet cleanses body and with a denominal thougts also the soul. Anyway, it is not a part of an official Protestant dogma.
But the Shrove Tuesday is neede, inasmuch as in our lives sometimes we need to wind down, as well as calm down and meditate. A Shrove bun with whipped cream inside and jam topping is a kind of a mundane symbol of all this.