“The traditions associated with Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day, and why we traditionally eat and race pancakes” –Paul Ebeling
For Christians, Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent, traditionally a period of abstinence, associated with clearing your cupboards of goods such as sugar, fats and eggs.
Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up these foods before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began.
Shrove comes from the word ‘shrive’, which means to give absolution after hearing confession. So Shrove Tuesday is the day people go to confession to prepare themselves for Lent, which begins on the following day, Ash Wednesday.
Some believe the 4 ingredients used in pancakes may actually represent the 4 pillars of the Christian faith: flour as ‘the staff of life’, eggs as ‘creation’, milk as ‘purity’ and salt as ‘wholesomeness’.
Although the day is important in Christian tradition, Pancake Day is widely celebrated by those outside of the faith.
The pancake has a very long history and is featured in cookery books as far back as Y 1439. The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old. According to legend, the tradition was born in the 15th Century when a woman in Buckinghamshire rushed to church to confess her sins while mid-way through making pancakes.
A Shrove Tuesday competition began on 21st February 1950, between people in Liberal, Kansas, and Olney, Buckinghamshire, England, creating International Pancake Day. Each year the communities hold a 415-yard race to determine the fastest runner who can also flip a pancake.
Have a healthy, prosperous day, Keep the Faith!