This year Pancake Day falls on the 13th February and at Hand Picked Hotels, our frying pans are at the ready to celebrate.
Traditionally Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Christians would eat pancakes to clear their cupboards of rich, indulgent foods like sugar, butter, milk and eggs, before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began.
The name Shrove Tuesday comes from the word ‘shrive’, which means ‘to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and penance’. And the tradition of tossing them is said to date back to the 15th century when a woman in Buckinghamshire rushed to church to confess her sins while mid-way through making pancakes.
Pancake Day takes place 47 days before Easter Sunday, and because the date of Easter Sunday is dictated by the cycles of the moon, Pancake Day can fall anytime between February 3rd and March 9th. While the day gets its name from the tradition of Christians trying to be ‘shriven’ before Lent, it is believed that Pancake Day might originate in a pagan holiday, when eating warm round pancakes – symbolising the sun – was a way of celebrating the arrival of spring.
Of course, Pancake Day is not just celebrated by Christians – pancakes have been in cookery books since 1439, and elsewhere in the world it is known by other names, such as Mardi Gras (‘fat Tuesday’ in French), or Fasnacht (the Germanic ‘night of the fast’). In other countries, like Spain, Italy or Brazil, Shrove Tuesday is at the end of Carnival. Another tradition on Pancake Day in the UK is pancake racing, during which participants have to be in fancy dress and throw a pancake in the air and catch it in the pan several times. The most famous pancake race takes place in Olney, Buckinghamshire, a tradition which dates back to 1445.
This year it falls next Tuesday and to celebrate all of our hotels will be serving pancakes, with lots of different toppings to tickle our guest’s taste buds. So, if you don’t fancy throwing food around the kitchen, let us do the hard work and spoil your friends and family with some mouth-watering Pancakey treats.