This is a favorite day of mine. It’s known as Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, and Mardi Gras. Sure we all know about Mardi Gras. That annual carnival in New Orleans is legendary. (I’ve never personally been.)
A little background…
Since tomorrow is Lent, that means it is the first day of the fasting period remembering Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert. So people often give up, or fast, something during Lent. Traditions of a Lent fast originated in the giving up of certain food.
Shrove Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent, is the day that you traditionally receive absolution from your sins before going in to the fasting period.
What often happened is that many cultures would gorge themselves on rich foods the day before the start of Lent, hence the name Fat Tuesday, which in French is Mardi Gras.
Where the pancakes come in is that pancakes are a food that allowed the cooking up of richer ingredients that a family would have at home.
A tradition that grew in Great Britain on Shrove Tuesday is racing while holding a skillet with a pancake in it. Depending on who tells you the rules, you must flip the pancake at least at the beginning and the end of the race. There is even an international competition that happens between the town of Liberal, Kansas and Olney, Buckinghamshire since 1950. Olney is the traditional birthplace of the legend behind the pancake races.
Also published on Medium.