What is Pancake Day?

This article was originally posted by GB Mag, an online magazine for international students helping and inspiring you to make the most of your time in the UK.

Sat 25 Feb 2017 < Back to listing

Shrove Tuesday, commonly known as Pancake Day, marks the last day before Lent which is when Christians give up something they love to eat or do for 40 days.

Pancakes are eaten in the UK to use up ingredients like fat, butter and eggs, which are traditionally not eaten during Lent.  

This year the date for Pancake Day is 28 February but it does change from year-to-year and can fall in February or March becuase the start of Lent is depended on the sighting of the moon.

The term ‘Shroving’ comes from a custom in which children sang or recited poetry in exchange for food or money. Other customs and superstitions around the UK  include the belief that the first three pancakes cooked were sacred. Each would be marked with a cross, then sprinkled with salt to ward off evil spirits.

In Ireland, girls are given the afternoon off to make their batter and the eldest, unmarried girl would toss the first pancake. A successful pancake "toss" meant that she would be married within the year.

Whereas in Scotland, special oatcakes, called Bannocks, are made using oatmeal instead of flour to make pancakes for Pancake Day. A charm would be added to the dough and if an unmarried person found it, it was taken as a sign they would be married within the year.

In some parts of Wales children kick tin cans up and down the streets to symbolise the putting away of the pots and pans for Lent.

These days you’ll find people having pancake races, where they toss the pancake whilst running, to raise money for charity. One of the most famous ones is the Parliamentary Pancake race.

If all this talk about pancakes has made you hungry why don’t you whip up some English pancakes by following our easy-peasy recipe.


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