Published On: Mon, Feb 12th, 2018

Pancake Day 2018: What is Shrove Tuesday? Why do we eat pancakes? | Food | Life & Style


For those messy cooks out there, Pancake Day is perhaps the one time where it is acceptbale or even encouraged to throw food around your kitchen.

People up and down the country have stocked up on lemons and sugar, chocolate spread and bananas, as they get ready for Pancake Day 2018.

This year, Pancake Day 2018 falls on February 13. The celebration always falls 47 days before Easter so the date moves but it will always be between February 3 and March 9.

Pancake Day also always takes place the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of the Christian season of Lent in the run-up to Easter.

Why do we celebrate Pancake Day?

Traditionally, Shrove Tuesday was a day for using up food that could not be eaten during Lent, which was a time for fasting.

Therefore people made pancakes using leftover eggs and butter.

The pancake tradition has since taken on a life of its own with many villages and towns continuing to hold pancake races and activities to this day.

According to legend, pancake racing first started in the 15th century when a Buckinghamshire woman rushed to confess her sins while making pancakes and took her pan to church.

Where did Pancake Day originate from? 

What is Shrove Tuesday?

The expression Shrove Tuesday actually comes from the word shrive, which means to confess and receive absolution. Historically, it was the custom to confess sins before Lent. 

The day gets its name from the tradition of Christians trying to be ‘shriven’ before Lent.


In other parts of the world such as the US and Australia, Shrove Tuesday is known as Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday. 

Mardi Gras carnival celebrations often involve revellers wearing masks and costumes, dancing and taking part in sports competitions and parades. 

Although it is Christian celebration, there have been suggestions that Shrove Tuesday was originally a pagan holiday to celebrate the arrival of spring.

The season of Lent lasts for 40 days and takes place in memory of Jesus, who was said to have fasted for 40 days in the desert. 

Nowadays some Christians still fast but most give up something they enjoy, such as chocolate or similar treats, for Lent. 

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