Also known as
Rose Monday (Rosenmontag)
48 days before Easter
Shrove Monday is part of the Shrovetide celebrations that encompass the week before Lent. It takes place on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. In between these two days is Shrove Tuesday. "Shrove" is the past tense of "shrive," which means to obtain absolution from sin. Shriving can be done through confession and penance. Historically, English Christians were supposed to do some shriving before Lent. "Shrove Monday" and "Shrove Tuesday" are terms not widely used in the United States and Canada, but they are still sometimes used in Lutheran, Anglican, and Roman Catholic churches.
Shrove Monday is part of the Carnival celebrations that take place in many countries. In Germany, Denmark, and Austria, it is known as Rosenmontag, meaning Rose Monday. In Germany, the apex of Carnival in on Shrove Monday, while in some other countries it is on Shrove Tuesday. German schools are usually closed on the day, and workers often have the day off. Parades are held, with floats of a satirical nature that lampoon politicians often being made. Dressing up in costumes, dancing, and drinking are also common. In the Rhineland of Germany, that day is part of Fasching, which is the Feast of Fools. There are parades, marching, satirical floats, and merrymaking.
In Denmark, Shrove Monday is also part of a Carnival celebration called Fastelavn, where processions take place and costumes are worn. The day is now geared more towards children. Fastelavnsboller is a food commonly eaten on the day. It is a round sweet bun with icing that may be filled with pastry cream or whipped cream.
The day is sometimes called Collopy Monday in Great Britain. It takes its name from a traditional meal eaten there for breakfast on the day: collops of bacon topped with an egg. This meal is in preparation for Lent, which is a time when meat cannot be eaten. The fat from the bacon is often used to make pancakes on the following day. In east Cornwall, the day is known as Paisen Monday or Peasen Monday, and pea soup is customarily eaten.
The holiday is celebrated in many other countries. It is part of the Carnival calendar in Greece, and in many Caribbean countries it is the first day of Carnival and called Carnival Monday. In the Americas, particularly around New Orleans, it is known as Luni Gras or Fat Monday, similar to how the following day is called Mardi Gras.
How to Observe Shrove Monday
The day may be celebrated any number of ways and may be spent differently depending on what country you live in and what your religious beliefs are. In order to prepare for Lent, you may spend it in penance or confession. In some countries, such as Germany, you could attend a parade, dress up in a costume, go dancing, and do some drinking. Some foods that are commonly eaten on the day that you could try include fastelavnsboller, collops topped with eggs, and pea soup. You could even try making them yourself!