Shrove Tuesday

Monday, 27 February 2017

Are you ready for Pancake Day- or Shrove Tuesday, to use its traditional name? Is your cupboard fully stocked with everything you need to make the most delicious pancakes or compete in a pancake flipping competition with your friends and family?

What is Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday


This year, Shrove Tuesday falls on the 28th February. It’s the day before Lent starts, the 40 days before Easter when Christians reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Shrove Tuesday is traditionally a day of penitence and celebration, with people feasting on the food they have in their cupboards that they’ll be abstaining from during Lent. Pancakes became popular because many people wouldn’t eat eggs, milk, fats, meat or fish during Lent.

Today Christians usually either decide to abstain from one food that they particularly like or give up something they do that distracts them from focusing on God. For instance, in 2016, the most common, according to Christian Today magazine, were:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Social networking
  3. Alcohol
  4. Twitter
  5. Swearing
  6. Fizzy drinks
  7. Sweets
  8. Coffee
  9. Fast food
  10. Sugar

How did pancake races start?

The history of pancake races can be traced back to 1445 when a woman on Shrove Tuesday was so busy cooking pancakes that she was late for church. She heard the church bells ring and in a panic, ran to church still wearing her apron and carrying her frying pan.

Pancake races take place all around the world and if you’re interested in participating this year, why not take a look in your local paper to see if there are any in your hometown? If you don’t mind travelling, here is a list of some of the most famous pancake races in the UK:

  • Olney Pancake Race – Sadly you won’t qualify for the main race unless you’re a woman who has lived in Olney,Buckinghamshire, for at least 3 months but you can still have a great time if you come to watch. This yearly race has been running since 1445. The women are competing not just with each other but with the women of Liberal, Kansas, with the winning town being declared world champions. The current score stands at Liberal 37, Olney 29.

  • Great Spitalfields Pancake Race – To compete in this race to raise money for the London Air Ambulance you need to be a team of four and wear fancy dress, the sillier your outfits are the better. You can enter by emailing info@alternativearts.co.uk or just turn up on the day. The race starts at 12.30pm.

  • Parliamentary Pancake Race – Watch MPs, Lords and journalists race in Victoria Tower Gardens outside the Houses of Parliament to raise money for Rehab, a charity that helps vulnerable people with mental and physical disabilities to rebuild their lives.

Fun recipes to try

You might have sugar, lemon and a jar of Nutella on standby but why not see if your family fancies topping their pancakes with chocolate chips, peanut butter and banana instead? Alternatively, you could try making Crêpe Suzette (mango, tropical juice and Greek yoghurt pancakes) or American Blueberry pancakes.

We hope Pancake Day 2017 is your best yet!

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