If you ever needed an excuse to eat pancakes, your time is now. Get your eggs, flour, milk and butter at the ready because Pancake Day is fast approaching.

But why is it that we have to flip and devour these tasty treats on this one day of the year?

From the tradition of pancake flipping to where the day originated from, here is everything you need to know about Pancake Day.

When is Pancake Day?

This year, Pancake Day, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday, falls on Tuesday 16th February 2021 (tomorrow!).

Why is pancake day on a different day each year?

Pancake Day has been celebrated by Britons for centuries, its date is determined by when Easter falls and so changes each year. But it is always the date preceding the first day of lent, Ash Wednesday, and always falls in February or March.

The date of Shrove Tuesday is intrinsically linked to Easter, and this year Easter Sunday falls on 4th April. The period between Shrove Tuesday and Easter Sunday is known as Lent and officially begins on Ash Wednesday, ending on Holy Saturday.

Pancake Day falls on Tuesday 16th February this year

What does Shrove Tuesday mean?

The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and penance. The verb to shrive describes the act of hearing a confession, often by a priest.

Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the custom of Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent, where Anglo-Saxon Christians would go to church to confession and be absolved from their sins on this day.

Why do we celebrate Pancake Day?

So why does this now mean that we eat pancakes? Shrovetide was traditionally seen as a chance to indulge before the period of Lent.

Pancakes were made to use up the rich, luxurious ingredients such as milk and eggs before Lent began.

It is also believed that eating pancakes might originate from a Pagan holiday, where eating warm, round pancakes would symbolise the sun as a way of celebrating the arrival of spring.

Why do we love pancake flipping?

Legend has it that the origin of pancake flipping and subsequently pancake flipping races comes from the 15th century, when a particularly disorganised woman from Buckinghamshire rushed to church mid-way through flipping her pancakes. 

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