Quaint English Traditions – Shrove Tuesday

Hooray! Today is Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day here in the UK.


Shrove Tuesday falls on the day before Lent begins, marking the long build up to Easter.’Shrove’ means being forgiven for wrong-doings which is great as today I intend to eat lots of pancakes.

In ‘Ye Olde’ days this was a day for feasting and partying. People would go to church to confess the bad things they had done and would be ‘shriven’ or forgiven before the start of Lent. Since rich foods such as eggs were forbidden during Lent, one way of using them up would be to make pancakes. What a great idea, well done ancestors!

In some parts of the UK people run in pancake races. This custom grew up because of the legend which dates from around 1445. On Shrove Tuesday one woman was still making her pancakes as the church bells rang out. Rather than be late she took her frying pan and pancake with her.

The race pictured below is one of the oldest and is held in Olney, Buckinghamshire every year. The pancake has to be flipped at the beginning and end of the race to prove it hasn’t been lost.


The pancakes we eat more closely resemble the French Crepe and are traditionally served with lemon and sugar. Obviously my Mum makes the best pancakes on the planet so thats where I’m headed today.

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