Pancake Day is a time to indulge on chocolate spread, lemons, sugar or more unconventional toppings. The delicious batter snacks can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner or even to round off the night with dessert. The origins of Pancake Day are steeped in history, with pancaked featured in cookery books as far back as 1439.
When is Pancake Day 2019?
Pancake Day varies each year and can fall any date from February 3 and March 9.
This year, Pancake Day is on Tuesday, March 5.
Pancake Day is also known as Shrove Tuesday – the traditional feast day before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.
Shrove Tuesday always takes place 47 days before Easter Sunday and was a time when Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession to be “shriven” or absolved of their sins.
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A bell was rung to signify the time for confession, known as the “Pancake Bell” or “Shriving Bell”.
The reason pancakes are associated with the day is because it was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before fasting began during Lent.
Pancakes are traditionally thin, flat cakes made from batter fried in a frying pan.
They are usually served with golden syrup or lemon juice and caster sugar.
In recent times serving them with a chocolate spread such as Nutella has become popular.
Pancake races also have an important role in Shrove Tuesday celebrations, something which sees large groups of people – sometimes in fancy dress – racing down streets tossing pancakes.
The most famous pancake race takes place Olney, Buckinghamshire.
The races stem from the tale that a woman from Olney was frying pancakes when she heard the shriving bell ring and ran to the church carrying her pancake in its pan.
From this tradition, the participants in the Olney pancake race must be women, and they much wear an apron and a scarf.
In London, an event known as the Pancake Grease is held at Westminster School.
This is when the school cook tosses a huge pancake over a five-metre high bar, and schoolboys then have to race to grab a portion of the pancake.
The body who grabs the largest slice is awarded a cash bonus from the Dean.
There are also other traditions such as skipping on the promenade in Scarborough, Yorkshire and Shrove Tuesday football is played in many towns across England.