Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday – UK Culture – Online English Lessons

February 21, 2012 By Angela Boothroyd

Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian festival of Lent.

Lent is traditionally a time for fasting, and Pancake Day is a good way to use up foods that were given up for Lent e.g. eggs and butter. Today people are more likely to give up luxuries such as chocolate.

Pancakes are thin and flat and made from flour, eggs, milk and butter. They are fried, then rolled up, and usually eaten immediately – often with lemon and sugar.

Pancake Day is on different dates each year, depending on the date for Easter.

Pancake Day Races

Many villages across the UK will have Pancake Races on Pancake Day.  Participants run around a course, often dressed in an apron, carrying a frying pan and flipping a pancake in the air.

The first Pancake Race is said to have been in the village of Olney in Buckinghamshire, England, in 1445. An old story tells that a housewife busy at work in her kitchen heard the church Shriving Bell calling villagers to confess their sins on Shrove Tuesday. The housewife didn’t want to be too late to confess her sins so she ran straight to the church while still holding her frying pan and pancake.

Parliamentary Pancake Day

The Parliamentary Pancake Day takes place outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

Lords, MPs and journalists race each other in aid of the brain injury charity Rehab UK. 

Pancake recipe

Here’s a recipe for basic pancakes with sugar and lemon

The first pancake recipe is said to have appeared in a cookbook dated 1439.

The world’s biggest pancake was made in Rochdale near Manchester, England in 1994. It weighed approximately 3 tons and was approximately 15 metres in diameter – just imagine how many calories were in that pancake

Will you be eating pancakes on Pancake Day?

Images © Ffion Atkinson and © Robin Myerscough