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Shrovetide is another name for Carnival. While Carnival offers people an opportunity to eat rich foods and celebrate with abandon before beginning the solemn season of Lent, the old-fashioned English word "Shrovetide" calls to mind the religious duties once associated with this time of year. In past times people sought out priests during the last several days of Carnival in order to make formal confessions of their sins and to receive absolution, or forgiveness. The word "shrove" is an archaic English word meaning "wrote." In medieval times after a priest heard a confession he frequently wrote out a prescription for an appropriate penance, that is, a series of religious rituals that expressed a person's remorse for his or her errors and inspired renewed devotion (for more on penance, see Repentance). After going through this process of making confession, receiving penance, and accepting absolution, a person was said to be "shriven" of their sins. Hence the last several days of Carnival, when priests shrove their parishioners of their sins, were dubbed Shrovetide.

In some places Shrovetide began on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It ended on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. People called this day Shrove Tuesday because it was the last day to confess one's sins before the start of Lent. In other places Shrovetide lasted longer, beginning on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, sometimes called "Fat Thursday." Shrovetide coincides with the last few days of pre-Lent. This three-week period of preparation for Lent is no longer observed by most Western Christians, that is, Roman Catholics and Protestants, but is still acknowledged by Eastern Christians, that is, those Christians whose traditions of worship originated in eastern Europe, the Middle East, and north Africa.

Further Reading

Blackburn, Bonnie, and Leofranc Holford-Strevens. The Oxford Companion to the Year. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1999. Metford, J. C. J. The Christian Year. London, England: Thames and Hudson, 1991.

Shrovetide (Norway) (Fastelavn)

Between February 3 and March 9; Sunday before Ash Wednesday
Formerly observed on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, Fastelavn, or Shrove Sunday, is a holiday that Norwegian children anticipate eagerly. They rise at dawn and, armed with fastelavnsris (decorated birch or evergreen branches), they go from room to room and strike with their branches anyone who is still in bed. The children receive a hot cross bun for every victim they spank.
The fastelavnsris can be quite elaborate, often decorated with tinsel and paper streamers or brightly colored paper roses. Sometimes a doll with stiff, full skirts is tied to the topmost branch. The curious custom of switching with branches may be traced to an ancient pagan rite heralding the fruitfulness of spring.
BkFest-1937, p. 249
FestWestEur-1958, p. 151

Celebrated in: Norway

References in periodicals archive ?
The next section of the article develops the idea that the behavior of pretenders was perceived by contemporaries as carnivalesque, and the pretenders themselves as mummers (riazhenye) of the kind who participated in Yuletide and Shrovetide festivals.
Seaver argues that the apprentices were enacting the antitheatrical prejudice of their elite masters and that Shrovetide (a traditional time of state-sanctioned misrule) was used by the city as a weapon against the theaters.
The years 1603 to 1640 saw continued social turbulence in London that tended to peak at Shrovetide or carnival time, that period of the year noted for excessive eating and drinking before the required abstinence of Lent (Fletcher and Stevenson 232-4).
51) It is also probable that 1 Henry IV, being one of the new plays in their repertoire, was performed during either the Christmas or Shrovetide festivities at court, where the "seruauntes to the late Lorde Chamberlayne and now seruauntes to the Lorde Hunsdon" performed on December 26 and December 27, 1596 and on January 1, January 6, February 6, and February 8, 1597.
During their stay on the island the Russian guests visited Cyprus's main cities, enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Shrovetide carnival, also spent time at a local school, where pupils had prepared a special program featuring traditional songs and dances.
On Shrove Tuesday, 1672, Eva Kustner brought Shrovetide cakes that Anna had prepared to several neighbors, including Michael Fessler and his wife, also named Anna.
But you don't need one in this annual Shrovetide 'no rules' football match.
The Great Guild in Riga obliged its members to participate in vigils and requiem masses at the end of the Shrovetide drunke, and added that every one had to perform his duty to the deceased in the same manner as he wished to be done for him after his death.
Vene vastlapuhade tahistamisest Tallinnas ["Every celebration is necessary for someone": Russian Shrovetide in Tallinn].
By 1589 his son and heir, Ferdinando Stanley, Lord Strange, had the active family troupe (called "Lord Strange's men") and there is evidence of their performance at home at Christmas and Shrovetide, but that's the subject of another essay (MacLean 2003, 205-26).
For example, the opening of the ballet at the Shrovetide fair in St.