Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent starts. Shrove, or shrive means to be forgiven for sins. In the past, people would go to church to be shriven, to confess their sins and receive forgiveness. People ate simply or fasted during lent to reflect the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert before entering public ministry and also as a reminder of others less fortunate than themselves. So pancakes were a way of using up all the luxury ingredients they had left such as flour, eggs and milk to prepare for lent.