Posted in Kafevend Blog
Welcome to the Kafevend blog and our now traditional look at Christmas' leaner cousin. It's that time of the year again- so cast out your luxuries and pick something to stop eating for 40 days, because Lent's here!
Unlike Christmas and New Year which fall on specific days of the calendar (it's sort of necessary in the latter's case), Easter changes dates each and every year. It is what is known as a moveable feast. This means Easter can fall on any Sunday between the 22 March and the 25 April (in the west, at least- eastern Christianity uses a different method to work it out). The reason for this is because Easter is based on something called a lunisolar calendar- it all looks rather complex, but it basically incorporates the phase of the moon into the calculations. Interestingly, where our Julian calendar system requires us to a have a leap day every few years, a lunisolar calendar can require a leap month!
Easter is the crux of a whole load of other related feasts, holidays and observances which also shift in the calendar along with it, including the two we have just gone by- Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, a solemn period leading up to Easter which marks Jesus' death and resurrection, a hugely important event in the Christian faith. During Lent, believers will engage in acts such as prayer, penance, atonement and almsgiving. The most well known of these acts however is fasting, partly in deference to the tale of Jesus' time spent fasting in the desert and resisting the Devil's temptations. The length of Lent- 40 days- is as such due to the time Jesus spent in the desert.
Making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday takes its cue from the tradition of finishing up richer foodstuffs such as eggs, milk and sugar before Lent began. Meat was also restricted, along with other dairy products. In ancient times the restrictions could be even more severe, perhaps forbidding all animal products and leaving you with little other than bread and water. These days, Lent is approached in a slightly less restrictive fashion as people will often pick one item in particular that they are going to give up- chocolate is always a popular choice. Whilst this may seem a little paltry in comparison for the devoted fasters, this approach does at least present a more manageable goal!
Although we've gone past the traditional day to have pancakes, we feel it would be remiss of us, dealing with tea, coffee and cocoa and related topics, not to provide a link back to a previous blog we wrote that tells you how to make coffee pancakes. If you forgot to have pancakes on Tuesday, or still have more batter to use up, then do be sure to give them a go. They're simple to make and a great accompaniment to a cup of coffee any day of the week!