Prepare your eggs, your flour, your milk and your butter: pancake day has arrived. But why do we seemingly need to run out of our basic foodstuffs every year?
From the best and fastest pancake recipes to the tradition of pancake tossing and the origin of the day, here’s everything you need to know about pancake day.
When is pancake day 2021?
This year, Shrove Tuesday falls February 16, 2021.
Why does pancake day have a different date every year?
Pancake Day has been celebrated by the British for centuries. Also known as Mardi Gras, its exact – quite confusing – date changes every year, as it is determined by when Easter falls.
But it’s always the day before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), and always falls in February or March.
The date of Shrove Tuesday is intrinsically linked to Easter, a moving holiday that falls between March 22 and April 25. This year, Easter Sunday falls on April 4.
The period between Shrove Tuesday and Easter Sunday is known as Lent and officially begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday.
While it is commonly said that Lent lasts 40 days, there are actually 46 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. However, traditionally Lent was not followed on Sunday, giving the faithful one day of rest per week; if you exclude all Sundays from the period, Lent lasts 40 days.
What does Shrove Tuesday mean?
The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution from one’s sins by confession and penance. The verb to shrivel describes the act of hearing a confession, often by a priest.
Shrove Tuesday takes its name from the custom of Christians being “shriveled” before Lent begins. Traditionally, Anglo-Saxon Christians would go to church to confess and be absolved of their sins on this day.
The day marks the end of the pre-Lent season, also known as Shrovetide. The period begins on Septuagesima, three Sundays before Ash Wednesday. The other two Sundays in this 17-day period are called Sexagesima and Quinquagesima.
Shrove Tuesday was traditionally seen as a chance to indulge before the prohibitive Lent period and is linked to the carnival seasons celebrated in other parts of the world.
Why do we celebrate pancake day?
Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to consume rich and indulgent foods like eggs and milk before the start of the fasting season of Lent.
But although it is entrenched in Christian tradition, it is believed that pancake day could have originated from a pagan holiday, when eating round, warm pancakes – symbolizing the sun – was a way of celebrating the coming of spring.
Besides making and eating pancakes, we Brits love to run pancake races, where people run around flipping their pancakes in a pan.
Legend has it that the tradition originated in the 15th century when a particularly disorganized woman from Buckinghamshire rushed to church to confess her sins while making pancakes. We hope she gave one to the priest.
Pancake day around the world
While we in Britain tend to keep our pancake ingredients simple, in Newfoundland, Canada, items of symbolic value are added to the baking dough. These items are then used to interpret different messages about the future – for example, a pancake served with a ring inside can signify a wedding.
Pancake Day is much less indulgent in Iceland, where the day, known as Sprengidagur (Bursting Day), is marked by the consumption of salted meat and peas.
In France, it is traditional when turning a pancake to hold a coin in one hand and make a wish.
The French call the day of crêpes Mardi Gras, or Mardi Gras. This stems from the ancient ritual of parading a large ox through Paris to remind people that meat was prohibited during the Lent period.
On pancake day in Scotland, locals love to eat ‘festive rooster’. The word festy is linked to E’en de Festern, the day before Shrove Tuesday, when cockfighting took place.
You prepare the dish by spreading out a scoop of finely ground oatmeal and folding it into a rough bird shape before baking and eating it as a substitute for a rooster.
In the southern states of the United States, “King’s Cake” is eaten to celebrate Mardi Gras. Traditionally a ring of cinnamon dough twisted and topped with icing or sugar, it often has a small plastic baby inside. The baby represents the baby Jesus and to find him in your slice is an honor.
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This notice was published: 2021-02-16 19:18:06