Next Tuesday is Pancake Day in the UK, or Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent starts. If, like me, you only cook classic Brit-style pancakes once a year and end up trying to find a recipe while your children wail with hunger, here’s a great recipe for classic Brit style pancakes. You’re welcome.
Anyway, I wrote in my last post about some ideas for Lent because it might take a little more planning than just stocking up on Jiff Lemon juice, but I thought some ideas for Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday might be good so this is like Lent II or The Return of Lent or Lent – the sequel. (Wait, have I had a little too much coffee today?!?)
So, erhem, to recap, if your focus during Lent is not on giving things up but rather on something else (we looked at praying for others, repentance and Counting Your Blessings as well as abstinence), then how to mark Shrove Tuesday or Ash Wednesday?
Well, to my mind, there is nothing wrong with a good old pancake fest! Many of the things we do in our family, such as the bunting we put up for each birthday or the candles we light each Friday evening, have nothing to do with any symbolic significance and everything to do with creating warm, comforting rituals which will give our children roots and bind them to our family and the values we (try!) to live out in our home. So toss a few pancakes ( a light-weight non-stick frying pan is really helpful for flipping them!) and do the big reveal with your family of what you plan to do during Lent, maybe setting up any props, visuals or decorations together.
When I googled Ash Wednesday, most observances were to do with ash (well, duh, Jen!) but specifically reminding us that we all return to dust – potentially an unsettling thought for small people and not particularly focussed on the resurrection or eternal life.
Several articles however mentioned planting wheat grass or other grasses in order to explore the symbolism of seeds needing to ‘die’ and be buried in order to produce new life. That sounded much more life-giving and meaningful to tinies but I suspect we’ll just mark it as “The First Day of Lent” in our home rather than add yet another thing to our list.
Having thought long and hard about which areas we’d like to see our kids grow in, I think our daily activities will be a sorry box and a prayer basket as mentioned in this post and I’m working on a “Journey to Jerusalem” type Lent countdown calendar to go on our kitchen door where we had the Jesse Tree. I’ll post photos if it’s presentable! Then we’ll repeat many of last year’s Holy Week activities but, given we have almost 2 weeks of school holidays before Easter, we’ll probably spread things out a bit and finish with a big celebratory Easter Sunday as a family.
Here are some pics for starters but stay tuned for the recipe for Lamb-shaped Easter bread, naturally died bright red boiled eggs, a beautiful Easter cross suncatcher, a brilliant and easy-to-make Easter story character set (just like a Christmas Nativity set) and other ideas to make your Easter really special.
I’m also seriously thinking about getting some Resurrection Eggs and having a hunt for the egg each day to build the excitement. You can get them ready made on Amazon in the UK if you’re busy and they come with a free booklet to help you tell the story with them.
So, do you mark Ash Wednesday in your family? And, if so, how? I’m particularly interested to hear from those who didn’t grow up with any Ash Wednesday observance but anyone can pitch in!