For those of you who have been longtime readers, you may recall the details about Pancake Day and the traditions we have in my home province of Newfoundland to celebrate the special day. Historically, Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and thus the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. During Lent, it was customary to give up life’s ‘sinful’ pleasures (such as eating meat or whatnot). In today’s world, this has been extrapolated to giving up things like pop, candy, chocolate, television, credit cards, things like that for the 40-day duration. However, in the days of yore, before Lent began, you were supposed use up the things in the pantry like meat, butter, flour, etc., lest they spoil during the Lenten period.
Pancake Day to the rescue! By making Pancakes and cooking up any meat, you’d indulge in one last lovely meal before being good and pure for Lent. In Newfoundland, there are Pancake Day races, church breakfasts, socials, etc., and when I was a child, we always had pancakes for dinner on Pancake Day. However, in Newfoundland, you’re supposed to add something more to your pancake batter: trinkets. Each trinket symbolizes your future and as I child, I recall with great glee stuffing my face FULL of pancakes to find the money, or the ring, or whatever we were searching for. My sister and I used to be fiercely competitive and we’d devour as many as we could in an attempt to get more money than the other.
Anyway, the trinkets that we use in Newfoundland are as follows:
- a penny, to symbolize poverty in your future
- a nickel, to symbolize wealth
- a string to symbolize a fisherman (if a boy got it, he would be a fisherman, if a girl did, she would marry one)
- a wedding ring, to symbolize that you would marry soon
- a button, symbolizing that you would never marry
- a nail, symbolizing that you would soon pass away (we never used this one in our family; far too morbid!)
- a thimble, symbolizing that you would be a seamstress/tailor
Two years ago I wrote about Pancake Day here on my blog and again, one year ago. Two years ago, I had my mom and my aunt with me to celebrate Pancake Day and we had a lovely time together. This year, it’ll be just hubby and me and we’ll carry on the tradition of course. It brings a smile to my heart to do these things and feel close to home and family when I do them.
But more to the point, two years ago I wrote about how I feared I would never get the opportunity to share these types of special traditions with our own family. Yes, I have shared the tradition with my stepchildren, and some friends, and many of you, my fellow bloggers (bless you all), indicated that you loved the idea of the Pancake Day tradition and you would take it up yourselves! I remember distinctly how Mel from Stirrup Queens reminded me that while I might not yet have the chance to pass on the tradition vertically to my own children, however, I had just passed it horizontally. And she’s absolutely right.
This year, Pancake Day sees me with a glimmer of hope as we mark 14 weeks exactly on Pancake Day. That glimmer is getting brighter by the day. But I have this hope, with all my heart that by this time next year, hubby and I will be having pancakes with a 6-month old baby nearby. And as that baby grows up in our house, I will teach the traditions, and share them happily, knowing that maybe one day, my own son or daughter will have pancakes with his or her family and tell the stories of how they used to do this ‘back in the old days in Mom’s home in Newfoundland.’
I can only hope.
Happy Pancake Day everyone. May none of you get a nail!