Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, is the last day before the period which Christians call Lent. It is traditional on this day to eat pancakes.
Shrove Tuesday occurs the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the the start of Lent and leads up to Easter Sunday. Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between 3 February and 9 March.
The name Shrove comes from the old word "shrive" which means to confess. On Shrove Tuesday, during the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began. Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration as well as penitence, because it's the last day before Lent. Throughout the United Kingdom, and in other countries too, people indulge themselves on foods that traditionally aren't allowed during Lent.
It is called Pancake Day because it is the day traditionally for eating pancakes. Pancake recipes were a way to use up any stocks of milk, butter and eggs which were forbidden during the abstinence of Lent. Thin, flat pancakes are made of batter and fried in a pan. Often they are sprinkled with sugar a dash of fresh lemon juice added, and the pancake is then rolled.
The earliest records of pancakes and pancake tossing appeared in the fifteenth century when the pancakes were a little thicker than the modern pancake. It wasn’t until the eighteenth century and the influence of French cooking and their thin crepes that pancakes more as we know them now.
Shrove Tuesday will occur on these dates in coming years:
2013 — 12 February
2014 — 4 March
2015 — 17 February
2016 — 9 February
2017 — 28 February
2018 — 13 February
2019 — 5 March
2020 — 25 February
2021 — 16 February
2022 — 1 March
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