I’m on my way down south on Shrove Tuesday morning. This is an old English name for what is the last day of Carnival, among other things. This day is known in some parts of the Christian world as a day for consuming pancakes (owing to older strictures of Lent where fat was banned), but the term itself refers to the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation by individuals, whereas Ash Wednesday would be a day for public penitence.
An older friend who lived both in Venezuela and Spain for many years noted the definite change in public mood the second Ash Wednesday set in. I might not be surprised that this is no longer the case there or even here, where we share a common religious culture with those two countries. Nevertheless it is worth recalling that the term Lent comes from the Latin to “slow down.”
Always a cautionary note to sound, I fear, and ever more ignored.