Pancake Day

Many people love to eat warm pancakes covered with butter and syrup in the morning. But did you know that there is actually a holiday where people celebrate and eat pancakes with their families and friends? It is a tradition that started many years ago in England.

Pancake Day is celebrated on Shrove Tuesday which is the day before Lent. Lent is a Christian holiday that was established in the 4th century as 40 days and is generally a period of fasting or other forms of self-denial. People generally eat a lot and have fun the day before Lent begins.

Shrove Tuesday is often referred to as Pancake Day because fats, which were generally prohibited during Lent, had to be used up. People would take all the eggs and dairy products that they had left in their kitchens and use them to make delicious pancakes.

In the United Kingdom of Great Britian, Northern Ireland and several other countries around the world, Pancake Day is celebrated with fun, games, and of course a lot of eating. However, the most well known activity on this day is the Pancake Day race at Olney in Buckinghamshire, England which has been held since 1445. It all began when a woman was cooking pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up all of her perishables before Lent. While she was still cooking she heard the chiming of the bells summoning her to church. Not wanting to be late, the woman ran to church with her apron on and the frying pan still in her hand. Little did she know that this would start a tradition that would be around for over 500 years!

Only women are allowed to participate in this race. They must run a designated path with a frying pan and end up at the church. They must have a hot pancake in the frying pan which they must flip at least three times before they complete the race. The first woman to complete the race and arrive at church with the pancake is declared the winner. She then serves the pancake to the bellringer and is rewarded with a kiss from the bellringer called the “Kiss of peace”. This race still occurs in England and in several other cities.

Source: Chevron Cars

Do you know of any unusual traditions? What happens? What are the origins of the festivities?


José said…
Hi Graham,

Spanish tradition: "Las aguederas y alcaldesas de Zamarramala (Segovia)"

In the eleventh century, Arabian people had occupied Spain, then, women from Zamarramala (Segovia) distracted them who were in Segovia. Spanish men had to recover the Alcazar of Segovia. However, Arabian people discovered women and punished the leader of women cutting her breast, like the martyrdom of Saint Agueda. Commemorating this brave act, every fifth of February, people of Zamarramala give the baton their women. This is holiday of the absolute prominence of women in Zamarramala.

Mayors receive the baton of City Council of Segovia. They get dressed with the called "suit to warn". As well, they designate little Mayors (alcaldesinas). After, Mayors get dressed with another suit that represents power and authority, the force of women and wealth. In the procession, flag bearers (single and married) pledge allegiance to the flag, while Mayors dance the Spanish dance (jota segoviana).

In square in the town they give appointments, they made the announcement and they burn the effigy (pelele o muñeco de carnaval). They designate new Mayors and they give the "Matahombres de oro" which is a pin used to piece of suit of "zamarriega" and Mayor, to people who have made activities in favour of women. Another award is "Ome Bueno e Leal de Zararramala" in favour of people or organisms that have worked to improve Zamarramala.

See you.