Mar 04


Pancake Day for the Family

I remember growing up as a Roman Catholic that pancake day was always looked forward to with great excitement.  Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday was traditionally the day before fasting began for Catholics during the season of Lent.  Our parent-imposed sacrifice was to give up all sweets and chocolate from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday – a very difficult feat for a child and even more so for three of us!  So Pancake Day became a feast of pancakes.  Mum would mix up the batter and the amount would depend upon how many pancakes were made.  If we didn’t eat our dinner, then we wouldn’t get any pancakes so dinners were duly wolfed down so that the pancake-making could begin.  We would all want a go at tossing the pancakes and sometimes dad would go overboard and hit the ceiling – yes, a wasted pancake but it created good memories of childhood.  Our pancakes were eaten with sugar and lemon juice, still my favourite today.

The next day being Ash Wednesday we would all feel very proud of ourselves as we announced to anyone that would listen that we had given up sweets and chocolates for Lent.  School brought us down to earth with a bump as the season of Lent was supposed to be about thinking of others and looking at ourselves and how we could improve ourselves.

The lack of sweets and chocolates seemed to kick in after about a week and we would begin counting the days until we were allowed any.  Children at school said that we were all allowed a break on a Sunday but this met with short shrift from mum!

Dad gave up alcohol throughout Lent and missed his pint after Church on a Sunday – he also looked forward to Easter Sunday!

The season of Lent was very difficult but it taught us something about self-discipline and gave us a sense that as a family we were all in it together.  That soon went out of the window, however, when mum would produce the biggest store of sweets on Easter Sunday morning!

Families create their own traditions and the memories, good and bad, live with us forever.  Whether parents are together or apart, they can still create their own traditions with their children to look back on.