Pancake Day: Top 10 facts you didn’t know about this annual tradition

1. The word “shrove” is the past tense of the old verb “to shrive”, meaning to hear a confession or impose a penance.

2. Apart from Shrove Tuesday, the only surviving use of the term is in “short shrift”, originally a quick confession for a condemned criminal.

3. The traditional annual Pancake Race in Olney, Buckinghamshire began in 1445.

4. In 1950 it became an international event, with times at Olyney compared with those in Liberal, Kansas. Liberal has won 37 times, Olney 29.

5. The word “pancake” dates back to the 15th century; “flat as a pancake” is early 17th century.

6. According to a survey by Clarks Maple Syrup, only 43 per cent of pancake makers toss their pancakes into the air; the rest cautiously flip them.

7. …but tossers have an average of 240 Facebook friends and turners have an average of only 167.

8. “Pancake” is also the name once given to a disc-shaped sea urchin, Encope emarginata.

9. US artist Katherine Kalnes has made pancake portraits of Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres.

10. In Sweden, they sometimes eat blodplättar which are pancakes made with pigs’ blood.