By Daniel Wood
Shrove Tuesday is celebrated as the day to stuff your face with as many pancakes as possible.
In 2020, it falls on Tuesday 25 February. Pancake lovers across the world will be frothing at the mouth at the thought of eating some delicious pancakes.
The sheer enthusiasm over pancakes over-shadows the true reasoning behind Shrove Tuesday. This is shown through some people just referring to it as ‘Pancake Day’ (including myself).
Do people even know why one Tuesday every year holds this occasion?
Why is it on February 25th?
The date of ‘Pancake Day’ is different every year. This is because Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday.
Easter Sunday is calculated based on the first full moon that follows the spring equinox in March. This year it is on April 12th.
Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent begins (Ash Wednesday).
Lent is supposed to be the time in which people give up a particular treat for 40 days. This doesn’t happen as often as it once did.
This period of Lent came about because Christian’s believe the story of Jesus Christ’s 40-day withdrawal into the desert.
With 40 days without treats looming, Shrove Tuesday descended into a day in which people fill up on all the treats they want before the long break.
In France, the date became known as “Mardi Gras”, or “Fat Tuesday”. These labels were further down the line, adopted by the USA.
Why do people eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?
Due to the 40-days hiatus from sweet, rich and savoury ingredients during Lent, pancakes were made in order to use up the remaining milk, eggs and sugar.
Pancake races also became somewhat of a tradition too.
The original story behind it was that a woman in Buckinghamshire was going to be late for her local church service, but she was in the middle of cooking pancakes.
Her solution was to run from her home to the church still carrying the frying pan. She would have to continue flipping the pancake while running to stop it burning.
The town where the tale was based (Olney), still hold an annual race. Female contestants battle it out over a 415-yard course wearing aprons to honour the pancake race’s founder.