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Pancake Day 2022: When is it and why do we eat it on Shrove Tuesday?

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t’s almost Pancake Day, which means we now officially have an excuse to eat as many pancakes as we want.

Shrove Tuesday, as it’s more formally known, is the perfect reason to get your friends and family round for stacks of delicious pancakes.

Whilst some people’s pancake flipping skills are better than others, any pancake fanatic knows no matter what they taste like, it’s all about the toppings.

Some people like to go fancy with fresh berries and cream or keep it simple with lemon and sugar.

Whatever your pancake preference, what could be better than an entire day dedicated to them?

Here’s everything you need to know about Pancake Day, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday:

When is Pancake Day?

Every year the city of London turns into a pancake haven with restaurants and homes cooking up delightful variations of the highly addictive batter cakes and crêpes. However, given that this day changes date every year according to Easter, it can be hard to remember when it is, and why exactly we celebrate it.

This year, Shrove Tuesday falls on 1 March.

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Why do we celebrate Pancake Day?

For Christians, Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent, traditionally a period of abstinence, associated with clearing your cupboards of goods such as sugar, fats and eggs.

Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up these foods before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began. Some believe the four ingredients used in pancakes may actually represent the four pillars of the Christian faith – flour as ‘the staff of life’, eggs as ‘creation’, milk as ‘purity’ and salt as ‘wholesomeness’.

Although the day is important in Christian tradition, Pancake Day is widely celebrated by those outside of the faith.

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What does Shrove Tuesday mean?

The word ‘shrove’ derives from the English word ‘shrive’, which means “to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and penance”. The day gets its unique name from the custom for Christians to be ‘shriven’ before the start of Lent. They would be called to confession by the ring of a bell which came to be known as the ‘pancake bell’ and it is still rung in some churches today.

Why do we flip pancakes?

The pancake has a very long history and is featured in cookery books as far back as 1439. The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old. According to legend, the tradition was born in the 15th century when a woman in Buckinghamshire rushed to church to confess her sins while mid-way through making pancakes.

Need some Pancake Day inspiration?

Check out these varied foodstagrams…

And here are some great recipes to try at home, from savoury blinis with smoked salmon to millefeuille crepe cakes.

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