About Pancake Tuesday
When is Shrove Tuesday?
Also known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras and Pancake Tuesday, the Tuesday before Lent is the last chance to feast for 40 days.
Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the practice of 'shriving', an older term for the practice of confession. Before the onset of Lent, Christians would confess and receive forgiveness from sins so that they could enter Lent guilt-free.
This evening would be an opportunity for families to eat certain foods that would be banned during Lent, such as Meat, Eggs, Flour, Milk and fatty foods.
Ticking many of the boxes for these foods in its ingredients, Pancakes became popular in England as a way of using up such items that remained in pantries.
- Did you know? Many towns and villages in England hold Pancake Day races. Olney in Buckinghamshire is believed to be the home of the oldest such event in the world, with the first race held in 1445.
Making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday remains a popular custom in Ireland, UK and some parts of the British Commonwealth.
If you can't wait until Shrove Tuesday for a good reason to eat pancakes, head to France, whose 'Pancake Day' is on Candlemas ('La Chandeleur') which is 2nd February. One French tradition is to hold a coin in one hand and flip the pancake with your other hand. If you catch the pancake in the pan, that will bring good luck for the coming year.
- Did you know? Apart from Pancakes, there are other UK traditions on Shrove Tuesday such as the famous Royal Shrovetide Football match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Shrovetide ball games have been played in England since at least the 12th century. The Ashbourne game has been played from at least 1667..
During the 40 days before Easter, Roman Catholics are supposed to abstain from all bodily pleasures, including the consumption of meat. This is intended to remember the fasting of Jesus, who spent 40 days in the desert before beginning his ministry.
The The orthodox Christian church has no tradition of ashes and Lent begins on Orthodox Shrove Monday.