For more inspiration, see our ultimate collection of pancake recipes and Pancake Day ideas.
Learn more about Shrove Tuesday with History Extra.
When is Shrove Tuesday?
Shrove Tuesday is a Christian holiday, falling the day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.
The exact date of Shrove Tuesday changes from year to year but is always 47 days before Easter Sunday. The date typically falls between 3 February and 9 March.
Shrove Tuesday is on 21 February, 2023.
What is Shrove Tuesday?
Shrove Tuesday is a feast day to celebrate indulgence before a period of fasting during the Christian season of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter Sunday.
Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Canada.
In French-speaking countries, the day is known as Mardi Gras or ‘Fat Tuesday’. Mardi Gras is celebrated with carnival-style street parties featuring live bands and parades, such as in New Orleans, Venice and Rio.
What is the meaning of Shrove Tuesday?
Shrove comes from the word ‘shrive’, which means to confess and do penance for one’s sins.
Shrove Tuesday is the day when Christians start to prepare themselves for the penance of Lent, which begins on the following day, Ash Wednesday.
Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?
Shrove Tuesday provides an opportunity to use up eggs and fats before Lent – during which eggs, fats, dairy and meat were traditionally given up – making pancakes a great recipe choice.
The earliest known English recipe dates from the 15th century, although pancakes had been eaten in other countries for centuries before that.
How is Pancake Day celebrated around the world?
Mardi Gras is celebrated in the US in New Orleans, Louisiana as well as other areas of French influence around the world. Mardi Gras involves a carnival celebration including parties and parades beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday.
In Sweden, the holiday is called Fettisdagen and traditionally involves eating fastlagsbulle (also known as selma), a type of sweet cardamom bun filled with almond paste and vanilla cream.
In Germany, Shrove Tuesday is called Fastnacht, meaning ‘Eve of the Fast’ and in Iceland it’s called Sprengidagur, meaning ‘Bursting Day’.
In Belgium, the three-day Carnival of Binche, takes place around Shrove Tuesday just before Lent.
How to make pancakes
- Mix the batter ingredients with a whisk until smooth and lump free.
- Put your crêpe pan on the heat. Wipe off the excess oil in the pan with kitchen paper.
- Pour about half a ladleful of batter into the pan and swirl around as soon as the batter hits the pan.
- Leave the pancake to cook for about 1 min or until it’s just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan and is golden brown underneath.
- To cook the other side either flip it over or turn it with a fish slice or spatula and leave it for another 30 seconds or so to finish cooking.
- Transfer to a serving plate.
See the full recipe for these easy pancakes and read our top tips on how to make perfect pancakes every time.
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