Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Shrove Tuesday

Pancake Day ( also known as Shrove Tuesday) is the last day before the period which Christians call Lent. Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren't allowed in Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which used to be forbidden during Lent.

Today many people celebrate Pancake Day regardless of religion. An English pancake is a thin, flat cake, made of batter and fried in a frying pan. A traditional English pancake is very thin and is served immediately from the frying pan. Caster sugar (superfine sugar) is sprinkled over the top and a dash of fresh lemon juice added.

The pancake-making  tradition remains in place today and has led to the annual event of pancake races all around the country. This tradition is said to stem from the year 1445 when a woman in Olney, whilst cooking her pancakes, heard the church bells calling the faithful to attend confession and she ran to the church with her pancake in its pan and her apron still on to attend confession. Most towns and cities still have Pancake races.

Names for today in other countries.

United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia - Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday
Brazil - Terça-feira gorda - Fat Tuesday - the final day of Brazilian Carnival.
Greece - Apocreas, which means "from the meat" since they don't eat meat during Lent, either.
Sweden - Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday).
Germany - "Fastnacht" (Also spelt "Fasnacht", "Fasenacht", "Fasteloven" (in the Rhine area) or "Fasching" in Bavaria.)
In France they call it Mardi Gras, which means Grease or Fat Tuesday.
In Iceland the day is known as "Sprengidagur" (Bursting day).
USA In Catholic and French-speaking parts of the United States this day is called Mardi Gras.