Shrove-Tide, first observed in the Middle Ages, was a time of festivity and carnival before Lent started. It was also a festival of the expulsion of Winter, demonstrated by the burning or drowning of an effigy of Winter. Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent commences on Ash Wednesday, takes its name from being a day of confession of sins-“shrive” or confess. It was the last chance for good food and unrestricted fun before the long period of austerity began. Shrove-Tide became second only to Christmas for it frivolity and “Great Gluttony.”
The three days were generally known as Shrove Sunday, Collop Monday, and Shrove Tuesday. Collop Monday takes its name from the habit of eating collops (cuts of fried meat). It only made sense to get rid of all the meat in the house, because it would be banned after Ash Wednesday. Similarly, on Shrove Tuesday, all other perishable foodstuffs were used up.
In Catholic countries, especially France, Shrove-Tide became Fat Tuesday (commonly known as Mardi Gras). This was a time of carnival, with masquerades, singing, and dancing. The festival still continues and has been carried over into America, in particular, New Orleans, Louisiana.