Pancake day (or shrove Tuesday) is the day before Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent. The day changes annually depending on when Easter is. It falls 47 days before Easter Sunday.
Shrove comes from the word “shrive” which means to confess. This tradition is observed by many Christian Faiths where people usually indulge themselves in foods that aren’t allowed during lent. This comprises of daily products hence the use of butter and eggs.
Another tradition for lent is to give up something you enjoy for the period which lasts 6 1/2 weeks, this could be chocolate or alcohol or some other rich food. It is a time for Christians to prepare for Easter and think about what they have done wrong or what they can confess to.
Other Countries all celebrate the day but in different ways , here are a few:
In Brazil it is called Fat Tuesday and marks the end of the Brazilian Carnival
In Greece it’s called Apocreas (meaning from the meat) as they do not eat meat during Lent
France celebrate Mardi Gras (this is also celebrated in the USA in Catholic and French speaking parts)
Sweden celebrate Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday)
Iceland has Sprengidagur (Bursting day)
One of the fun aspects of pancake day for children and adults is the tossing of the pancake. Can the pancake be tossed perfectly so it lands on the uncooked side. Peppa Pig has an episode devoted to pancake day where daddy pig tosses the pancake and it sticks to the roof (I wonder how many homes this is a reality).
In the UK some towns have pancake races, this was said to have originated on Olney, Buckinghamshire when one housewife was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time and when she heard the church bells ringing she raced to the church while still carry the frying pan with the pancake still in it. In this town there is still a pancake race that has been held since 1445, there are strict rules where contestants have to toss the pancake at both start and finishing lines and have to be dressed in an apron and scarf, even the men .
So whatever you are doing in your house or town enjoy your pancakes and hope there aren’t too many pancakes stuck to ceilings.