Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fat Tuesday

My roommate went on something of a rant this morning about referring to today as "Fat Tuesday" when its correct liturgical name is "Shrove Tuesday." Shrove of course comes from the word Shrive, meaning "to hear the confession of and give absolution to (a penitent)" or "to obtain absolution for (oneself) by confessing and doing penance."

As a person who enjoys a good rant against title perversion from time to time, I was oddly at a loss as to why I was not bothered so much by "Fat" Tuesday when I hate when days like Thanksgiving get referred to as "Turkey Day."

I suppose the whole Fat-read-Shrove Tuesday thing is still something of a novelty to me. I did not really go to church regularly until I was in college, and the church I went to at the time never really did Fat Tuesdays. To be fair, maybe they did, and I was just a foggy headed college kid more interested in completing my academic major in college football with a minor in slacking. Regardless, my impression of Fat Tuesday is still something of a novelty. It sounds so Catholic.

I actually got to thinking about it, and began to wonder why Fat Tuesday was still referred to as as such. Seems like the P.C. police would make us call it Horizontally Challenged Tuesday, or even Special Tuesday.

Maybe my roommate was on to something, but I am still not convinced even most seminarians know what the word "Shrove" means. This would seem to be the archaic kin of words like "undercroft" which in Episco-speak for "church basement" or "garth" which I am still convinced is either Darth Vader's redneck cousin or the Seabury linguistic equivalent of "snuffleupagus."

I propose we gorge on some rich Anglican Fudge, and come up with some alternative language forms of Fat/Shrove Tuesday. For the Rite I crowd, we could have "Bewail Your manifold Sins and Wickedness" Tuesday. For the Post-modern crowd we could have the "Insert your own meaning and call it truth" Tuesday, which for the 815 crowd would look something like the "20-20/Decade of Evangelism/Millennium Development Goals/other General Convention fad" Tuesday.

Or, we could go the "Turkey Day" route and simply call it "Pancake" Tuesday. And then we could make royalties off the accessorized titles. Pancake Tuesday with Syrup, or Nutty Pancake Tuesday. Then we could sell the naming rights to it, like Major League Baseball stadiums. Chick-f-lay Pancake Tuesday or the Pancake Tuesday brought to you by the Mobil Oil Foundation.

Maybe I will just stick with Fat Tuesday. That sounds like too much legal paperwork...

1 comment:

The Cowardly Seminarian said...

According to the Merriam Webster, a "Garth" is a "lawned or grassy courtyard."
And it is referred to as "Fat Tuesday" because people would not use shortening over Lent (unleavened bread) and so you had to use up all the shortening before Ash Wednesday so you had a party on Tuesday to finish off the fat in your house. This lead, eventually, to pancakes for Shrove Tuesday.