What is Shrove Tuesday?


A traditional pancake race

My son asked me this morning, what are the origins of pancake day & I didn’t know the answer…….!

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, between 3rd February & 9th March.  With a very long history, pancakes have been recorded in recipe books since 1439.

Traditionally, Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before the fasting of Lent began. It was also the day that people would go to confession (also known as Shriving) & a bell would be rung to call everyone to Church. The Shriving Bell was later known as the Pancake Bell. The tradition of tossing them is to avoid burning the pancake.

The Pancake races are interesting too. The story goes that a lady who was cooking pancakes heard the Shriving Bell & ran to church in a hurry, still holding her frying pan. This tradition has been upheld in Olney, Bucks, every year apparently since 1442.

The ingredients are supposed to symbolise the following:  Creation (Eggs), The staff of life (Flour), Wholesomeness (Salt) & Purity (Milk)