Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday has been celebrated in the UK for many years. The exact date is subject to change each year depending on when Easter falls. However, it always lands in between February and March and marks the final day before the beginning of Lent.
This year, Pancake Day falls on the 5th March 2019 and many people across the world have their flour, eggs, butter, and milk ready to participate in various pancake flipping competitions. Apart from the quick and best pancake recipes, the pancake tossing tradition, and the origin of the Shrove Tuesday, there’s more you should know about Pancake Day as seen below.
Understanding Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday
The period between Pancake Day and Easter Sunday is referred to as Lent. Lent is officially launched on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Sunday. Although Lent is said to last for forty days, there are forty-six days between Ash Wednesday and Holy Sunday.
Sundays were traditionally eliminated from the Lent period which gave followers one rest day each week. This explains the forty days of Lent. Shrove is derived from the word shrive which means acquiring forgiveness for your sins through self-punishment and confession. When used as a verb, to shrive is the act of listening to a confession, an act usually executed by a priest.
Shrove Tuesday got its name from the Christian custom of being shriven prior to the beginning of Lent. Conventionally, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to Church to offer their confessions and were cleared of their sins. Shrove Tuesday marks the completion of the Pre-Lenten season, also referred to as the Shrovetide.
The period starts on Septuagesima, three Sundays prior to Ash Wednesday. The next two Sundays in this period are referred to as Quinquagesima and Sexagesima. Traditionally, Shrovetide was viewed as an opportunity to indulge prior to the restraining period of Lent and is associated with carnival seasons that are celebrated in various parts across the globe.
Why is Pancake Day Celebrated?
Pancakes were traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday to exhaust indulgent and rich foods such as milk and eggs prior to the beginning of the fasting Lent season. Although Shrove Tuesday is preserved in the Christian tradition, it’s thought to have emanated from a pagan holiday where people ate round and warm pancakes exemplifying the sun to celebrate the coming of spring.
Apart from preparing and eating pancakes, Britons love to organise and participate in pancake races where participants run as they toss their pancakes in a pan. History indicates that the tradition originated in the 15th century when a specifically disorganised lady in Buckinghamshire hurried to church to divulge her sins just as she was in the middle of preparing pancakes.
Pancake Day across the Globe
While Britons maintain a simple and nice pancake ingredient list, residents of Newfoundland in Canada add objects believed to be of symbolic value to their batter just before cooking. They then use the items to unravel information about the future.
For instance, a pancake containing a ring could be an indication of marriage. In Iceland, Pancake Day is referred to as Sprengidagur or Bursting day. It’s less indulgent compared to other areas and is characterised by eating peas and salted meat. Residents of France love to toss their pancakes on one hand while holding a coin on the other and making a wish.
In France, Pancake Day is known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday and originates from the prehistoric ritual of a large ox across Paris as a firm reminder to the residents that meat was prohibited during Lent. In Scotland, residents love to eat festy cock on Pancake Day. Festy is a word associated with Festern's E'en, or the day prior to Shrove Tuesday when cockfighting would take place.
To prepare this dish, you need to roll out a ball of well ground oatmeal fold it to form a rough shape of a bird, then baking it and consuming it instead of a cockerel. In the Southern states of the United States of America, residents eat king cake during Pancake Day.
This is often a ring of curled cinnamon dough complete with icing or sugar topping, and with a tiny plastic baby in the middle. The baby, the residents believe represents baby Jesus. It’s not included in all slices and whoever finds it in their slices feels honoured.
Make your own family tradition and throw a little party on pancake day, we have exactly what you'll need in our range of party supplies on our website. Pancake day party, it sounds like a dream.
Preparing For Pancake Indulgence When You Don’t Love Pancakes
While Pancake Day is a big day across the world, not everyone loves pancakes. This doesn’t, however, exclude you from celebrating the day. Here is a simple and quick cinnamon swirls recipe you can try at home. Pancake fanatics can also try this recipe.
What You’ll Need
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
2tbsp Caster Sugar
55g Brown Sugar
50g Icing sugar
Ready roll puff pastry (available for affordable prices)
Grease your baking tray or tin. You can choose to line your tray with a parchment paper instead.
Unroll your ready-made puff pastry to form a big rectangle shape
Mix your dry ingredients together in a bowl and add butter. Mix together to form a smooth mixture
Evenly spread your mixture over your dough
Roll the dough to form a swiss roll-shaped log
Cut your log to get 8 uniform pieces and place them on your baking tin
Bake your swirls for 35 minutes at 180 degrees until they are golden brown
While the swirls are cooking, mix icing sugar with 2 teaspoonfuls of water to form a runny mixture
After your cinnamon rolls are cooked and cooled, pour the icing sugar mixture on top.
Pancake Recipe for the Pancake Enthusiasts
This recipe makes approximately 10 pancakes
What You’ll Need
110g plain flour
Pinch of salt
Butter for cooking
Sift your flour in a big mixing bowl. This step is necessary if you want to make your pancakes lump free, fluffy, and light.
Add your pinch of salt and mix well
Make a well in the middle of your flour, pour your well-beaten eggs and mix together
Mix your water and milk and slowly pour to your flour as your mix. You can use a hand or stand mixer for the best results.
Keep mixing until your batter becomes thin and smooth. The end result should have the consistency of fairly thick milk.
Your batter is now ready for frying
Heat your frying pan, add butter, let it met, and add a scoop of batter.
Cook for one minute or until air pockets form and the edges start browning. Toss your pancake over and cook for another minute before transferring it to a plate
Repeat the process until your batter is finished
You can add toppings according to your liking
Many people across the world love their pancakes with some topping such as honey, maple syrup, or even a mixture of fruits. You can try the above recipes this Pancake Day and twist them to fit your liking. However we know that baking and cooking can be difficult with the children around, so make sure to grab them their favourite toys to keep them happy and preoccupied. On our website we are guaranteed to have something that'll appeal to everyone ranging from amazing unicorn toys to Thomas and Friends toys - everyone's happy!
What are you going to treat yourself to, will it be classic pancakes or cinnamon swirls? Let us know down below in the comments what toppings you love to garnish with...