Prepare the eggs, butter, sugar and lemon juice, because Pancake Day is here.
In 2024, Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday) will fall on Tuesday, February 13, about a week earlier than last year.
Whether you like crepe-style pancakes or prefer the fluffy variations typically found in Scotland and the US, Pancake Day is an annual celebration enjoyed by many around the world ahead of the Christian festival of Easter.
From its religious significance to the delicious recipes you can try, here's everything you need to know about Pancake Day:
What is it and when does it occur?
Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day, is a celebration celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of the Christian observance of Lent, a 40-day period of abstinence that precedes Easter (which is a moveable feast).
As such, Ash Wednesday is the last day that those observing Lent can enjoy richer foods before abstaining, if they so choose.
Over the centuries, it has become a tradition for people to eat pancakes to mark the beginning of Lent, to consume ingredients they could not eat during the 40-day period, hence the name Pancake Day.
As Pancake Day always occurs 47 days before Easter Sunday, its actual date on the Gregorian calendar may vary.
Last year, the annual food-filled event took place on Tuesday, February 21st.
According to historic United KingdomThe term Shrove Tuesday derives from the act of Anglo-Saxon Christians confessing their sins before Lent and therefore being “absorbed” of them.
In some countries, including France, Germany and the United States, the day before the start of Lent is recognized with a celebration called Carnival.
Translated as “Fat Tuesday” in French, the festivities often involve carnival-like activities such as extravagant parades.
How did this start?
The tradition of eating pancakes to see the beginning of Lent has been observed in Britain since around the 16th century.
O Encyclopedia of Traditional British Rural Sport describes that this occurred because the ingredients that make up pancakes – namely eggs, butter and fat – would normally be prohibited during Lent.
“In some parishes it was customary for the church bell to ring at noon as a signal for people to start frying pancakes”, say the authors of the book. state.
This bell became known as the “Pancake Bell”, explains Historic UK, and is still used in parishes today.
While eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday has been a custom for centuries past, the act of marking the start of Lent before Ash Wednesday has been around for much longer.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical InstitutesThe text supposedly translated by the writer Abbot Aelfric around 1000 AD, in the week before Lent it was customary for Christians to confess their sins so that “the confessor encourages him in such a way that he can hear from his actions what he should do [in the way of penance].”
Centuries later, around the time of the 16th-century Western Christian Reform movement, Shrovetide, the period of celebration before the Lenten fast, would last about a week.
How is this celebrated?
Firstly, many people's main focus on Pancake Day is the excessive consumption of palate-pleasing pancakes.
Some also take part in an activity called “pancake racing,” which, as the name suggests, involves participating in a race while flipping pancakes in a frying pan.
That's it believed This tradition originated in 1445, when a woman lost track of time while making pancakes on Pancake Day.
When she heard the church bell ring, calling on the community to go to church to confess, she ran out of the house to go to church, all the while still holding the frying pan with the pancake on top.
In the UK, some also celebrate Pancake Day by participating in “mob football” games.
This centuries-old tradition used to be more common and involved teams kicking a ball around on public roads.
Although many no longer take part in the activity, some villages, such as Atherstone in Wawrickshire, continue to maintain the tradition.
Some pancake recipes you can try
From simple crepes topped with sugar and lemon juice to fluffy pancakes adorned with chocolate and banana spread, there's no end to the creative pancake recipes you can fry up on Pancake Day.
If you're looking for inspiration, look no further The Independentlist of appetizing recipes below:
If you need a decent frying pan, click here to see 10 of the best varieties on the market.