While I could eat pancakes every day of the year, they hold a special place on the calendar. Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday is a Christian celebration just before Lent which takes place on a different day each year leading up to Easter.
Shrove is the past tense of shrive, which means to confess. In the Middle Ages, this day was a time for people to confess their sins and ask forgiveness for them. This allowed Christians to enter into the season of Lent and prepare for Easter with a clean spirit.
Shrove Tuesday was a day for using up food that could not be eaten during Lent, which was a time for fasting. Therefore people made pancakes using leftover eggs and butter.
If eating pancakes wasn’t enough, it is also a sport. Pancake racing has been held in villages across the UK since the 15th century. Apparently the tradition was started when a woman in Buckinghamshire was so rushed to confess her sins while making pancakes that she took her pan to church. On Shrove Tuesday every year the ladies of Olney, Buckinghamshire compete in the world famous Pancake Race, an Olney tradition which dates back to 1445.
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