Today Is Pancake Day Folks

Today Is Pancake Day Folks

Today Is Pancake Day Folks. image: commons wikimedia

TODAY Is Pancake Day Folks, Shrove Tuesday

Today, Tuesday, February 16, is ‘Pancake Day’ as we Brits call it, a traditional feast day dating back to ancient times, known historically as Shrove Tuesday, that signifies the start of Lent, which always begins on Ash Wednesday and is a 40 day period of fasting that leads up to Easter.

In Anglo- Saxon times, Christians would go to confession on Shrove Tuesday to be absolved from their sins, which was known as being ‘shriven’, and a bell, which came to be known as the ‘Pancake Bell’ would be rung to call people to confession, and is in fact still rung in some places today.

Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins). A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the “Pancake Bell” and is still rung today in some places.

As the 40-day period of fasting was about to begin on Ash Wednesday, people would use up eggs and fat, so save them from going to waste, and pancakes were one of the easiest things to make with those ingredients.

Traditional English pancakes are thin, flat cake, made of batter and fried in a frying pan, and served piping hot from the pan, usually topped with caster sugar, lemon juice, or Golden syrup.

Cookery books as far back as 1439 spoke of pancakes, and the tradition of ‘tossing’ a pancake is almost as old, as written in Pasquil’s Palin, in 1619, “And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne”.

Some experts say that the four main ingredients of pancakes symbolise the four points of significance at this time of the year:

Eggs – Creation,            Flour – The staff of life
Salt – Wholesomeness,   Milk – Purity

If you would like to try making pancakes for the first time today, as it is pancake Day anyway, give it a try, here is a recipe:

To make 8 or so pancakes you will need 8oz plain flour, 2 large eggs, 1 pint of milk, salt.

Mix all together and whisk well. Leave to stand for 30 minutes. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, pour in enough batter to cover the base of the pan, and let it cook until the base of the pancake has browned. Then shake the pan to loosen the pancake and flip the pancake over to brown the other side.

Did you ever take part in a Pancake race as a kid? Or even as an adult!
The pancake race, according to history, originated when one lady was in her home in Olney, Buckinghamshire, preparing pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, in 1445, when she heard the sound of the shrivelling bell, and ran from her home, still wearing her apron, and holding the frying pan containing the pancake mixture, while running to the church.

Now, a world-famous pancake race takes place each year in Olney where the competitors have to be local housewives and they must wear an apron and a hat or scarf and race holding their frying pans whilst tossing the pancakes as they run.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at