Thursday, March 02, 2006

Easter Eggs and Pankcakes

There does not seem at the beginning to have been any prohibition of lacticinia, as the passage just quoted from Socrates would show. Moreover, at a somewhat later date, Bede tells us of Bishop Cedda, that during Lent he took only one meal a day consisting of "a little bread, a hen's egg, and a little milk mixed with water" (Hist. Eccl., III, xxiii), while Theodulphus of Orleans in the eighth century regarded abstinence from eggs, cheese, and fish as a mark of exceptional virtue. None the less St. Gregory writing to St. Augustine of England laid down the rule, "We abstain from flesh meat, and from all things that come from flesh, as milk, cheese, and eggs." This decision was afterwards enshrined in the "Corpus Juris", and must be regarded as the common law of the Church. Still exceptions were admitted, and dispensations to eat "lacticinia" were often granted upon condition of making a contribution to some pious work. These dispensations were known in Germany as Butterbriefe, and several churches are said to have been partly built by the proceeds of such exceptions. One of the steeples of Rouen cathedral was for this reason formerly known as the Butter Tower. This general prohibition of eggs and milk during Lent is perpetuated in the popular custom of blessing or making gifts of eggs at Easter, and in the English usage of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. from the New Advent article "Lent"
Who knew? I love learning little things like that from New Advent. It is such a fabulous resource! I think I have a newfound appreciation for pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday. These are the fun things people should try to share with their kids. Sure it's fun hunting for eggs filled with candy or coins, but it's even more fun and more meaningful when they know the history behind it!

UPDATE: I blush and admit my tardiness on this topic. If I had been a devoted reader at Julie D.'s other blog, "Meanwhile, Back in the Kitchen", I would have seen this article on Shrove Tuesday -- which talks about the pankcake thing!!

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