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8 March - Pancake Day

Published: 22nd February 2011 08:48

Shrove Tuesday


Shrove Tuesday is a term associated in English-speaking countries, particularly the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and parts of the USA, for the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of fasting and prayer called Lent.

Traditionally Christians would go to church to confession where they would confess their sins and were absolved from their sins. This was known as Shriven or Shrive. Over the years this has been shortened to Shrove, hence why Pancake Day is now known as Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday is noted in histories dating back to 1000AD

In the United Kingdom and many other countries, the day is often known as Pancake Day. Making and eating such foods was considered a last feast with ingredients such as sugar, fat and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the fasting, associated with Lent.

Shrove Tuesday was once known as a 'half-holiday' in England. It started at 11:00am with the ringing of the church bell. Pancake races are still held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom. The tradition is said to have originated when a housewife from Olney was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake. Pancake races in Olney can be dated back to 1445. Over the years this custom has been kept and modern runners now dress as traditional housewives with aprons ands bonnets whilst holding their frying pan. Pancake Day race rules state that they must at least toss the pancake at the start of the race and at the end of the pancake day race

The date of Shrove Tuesday is dependent on the date of Easter; it is all based on the cycles of the moon. The date can vary from as early as 3 February to as late as 9 March. This year Pancake Day falls on 8th March.

The first pancake recipe was in a cookbook dating back to the year 1439.

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