In the Christian calendar, Shrove Tuesday is the English name for the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which in turn marks the beginning of Lent. In many solidly Roman Catholic countries in Europe and the Americas, this is the last day of Carnival. In some historically Francophone places it is Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday; the most famous Shrove Tuesday celebration is the Brazilian Carnival.
It is also known as Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday in Britain, Ireland, Australia, and Canada.
The origin of the name Shrove lies in the archaic English verb “to shrive” which means to absolve people of their sins. It was common in the Middle Ages for “shriveners” (priests) to hear people’s confessions at this time, to prepare them for Lent.
The date can vary from as early as February 3 to as late as March 9. Like Lent, the date is dependent on that of Easter.
Shrove Tuesday (and Mardi Gras) will occur on the following dates in the following years:
2006 – February 28
2007 – February 20
2008 – February 5
2009 – February 24
2010 – February 16
2011 – March 8
2012 – February 21
2013 – February 12
2014 – March 4