Shrovetide literally means "confession time," and is the name given to the days immediately preceding Ash Wednesday. These days were so called because on them, and especially on the last of them, people were accustomed to confess their sins as a preparation for Lent. In most Roman Catholic countries it began on the Sunday before Lent. In the modern discipline of that Church a trace of the custom is still preserved, as in many countries the time of the confession which precedes the Paschal, or Easter, communion commences from Shrovetide. These days are sometimes called "Fastingtide" and "Fast mass," names still retained in some parts of Great Britain. The precept of shriving having been fulfilled, the faithful, on the eve of entering upon Lent, were allowed permission to give themselves up to amusements. In England, the pastimes of football, cock fighting, bullbaiting, etc., were down to a late period recognized usages of Shrovetide, but are now gradually disappearing.

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