Here's a video of some people celebrating Shrovetide. (I love the little kid in the big fuzzy coat at the beginning.... Such a cutie!!!)
Shrovetide was an ancient pagan festival celebrating the arrival of Spring and the start of work on the land. People would dance around in masks and costumes and have rituals (burning a straw man, lighting fires, leaving food on graves) and of course there was a feast!
Later, the Orthodox Church included Shrovetide among its festivals. It's lost its ritual significance and is now a festival (pancake week) to say goodbye to Winter and welcome Spring! People do special performances and cook pancakes the entire week. Yum!
Can't wait until February! I do love pancakes....