The day before Ash Wednesday is Shove Tuesday also known as Pancake Day.
The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “confess.” And while the day has turned into a day of celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. And I’m sure that many people end the day with a confessing of their sins, so this term makes sense.
But where does Pancake Day come from and why do we rush out to eat them for our dinner on this day?
Doing a bit of research I have discovered that in days past pancakes were used as a way up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent.
And it seems to come from customs of the United Kingdom. Since 1445 at Olney in Buckinghamshire, there has been a pancake race where contestants, mostly women ran a course, flipping pancakes in their pans at the start and end of the race. After the race all attend a church service.
So maybe instead of going to a Church Supper to fill ourselves on pancakes (and eggs, bacon, sausage etc) we ought to just take the pancake, run around the church and then go to church service. Seems this is closer to the tradition. As for me, I don’t care for pancakes so I’ll just pass.