Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, is traditionally a date on which you use up your basic foodstuffs before the beginning of Lent. Nowadays the occasion is celebrated with pancakes topped with melted chocolate or covered in berries. But why do we celebrate this date?
When is Pancake Day?
Pancake Day – or Shrove Tuesday – is on February 25 this year.
The date of Shrove Tuesday changes every year, as it is dependent on when Easter falls.
Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between February 3 and March 9.
However, Pancake Day always precedes Ash Wednesday, which makes the first day of Lent.
And the celebration will always be held in either February or March.
Where did Pancake Day originate from?
Shrove Tuesday is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.
Lent marks the 40 days leading up to Easter and was traditionally a time of fasting.
On Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” – which means they were absolved from their sins.
Shrove Tuesday was also the last opportunity to use up basic foodstuffs, such as eggs, before starting the Lent fasting.
Why do we eat pancakes on Pancake Day?
It was quickly discovered that pancakes are the perfect way of using up ingredients that needed to be got rid of before Lent.
The ingredients for pancakes are also seen by some as holding significance for other reasons:
Eggs – Creation
Flour – The staff of life
Salt – Wholesomeness
Milk – Purity
How to make Blueberry pancakes (recipe from British Lion Eggs)
- 2 large British Lion eggs, separated
- 75ml/3floz milk
- 100g/4oz self raising flour
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 100g/4oz blueberries
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
- soured cream and maple syrup to serve
Place the egg yolks and milk in a large bowl, sift over the flour, caster sugar and salt and mix well.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean grease-free bowl until they form soft peaks.
Fold into the flour mixture. Gently stir in the blueberries.
Heat a little oil in a large frying pan. Drop three to four medium spoonfuls of the pancake mixture into the hot pan and cook for 2 mins until crisp and golden.
Turn over and cook for a further 1 min until golden. Transfer to a clean tea towel to keep warm.
Cook the remaining batter in the same way to make 12 pancakes.
Serve the warm pancakes stacked up and topped with soured cream and maple syrup.