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the day immediately preceding Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent in the Christian churches in the West). It occurs between February 2 and March 9, depending on the date of Easter. Shrove, derived from "shrive," refers to the confession of sins usual in the European Middle Ages as a preparation for Lent. Shrove Tuesday eventually acquired the character of a carnival or festival in European countries, and many customs developed in connection with this day that precedes the beginning of the Lenten fast. Traditionally pancakes were eaten on Shrove Tuesday, because eggs and fat, forbidden during the Lenten fast, were used.