Pancake Day ( also known as Shrove Tuesday) is the last day before the period which Christians call Lent. It is tradition on this day to eat pancakes. The name Shrove comes from the old word "shrive" which means to confess. On Shrove Tuesday, in the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began. When a person receives absolution for their sins, they are forgiven for them and released from the guilt and pain that they have caused them.In the Catholic or Orthodox context, the absolution is pronounced by a priest.Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration as well as penitence, because it's the last day before Lent. Throughout the United Kingdom, and in other countries too, people indulge themselves on foods that traditionally aren't allowed during Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.
Its has different name in different countries Like-
United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia - Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday
Brazil - Terça-feira gorda - Fat Tuesday - the final day of Brazilian Carnival.
Greece - Apocreas, which means "from the meat" since they don't eat meat during Lent, either.
Sweden - Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday).
USA - In Catholic and French-speaking parts of the United States this day is called Mardi Gras.
Germany - "Fastnacht" (Also spelt "Fasnacht", "Fasenacht", "Fasteloven" (in the Rhine area) or "Fasching" in Bavaria.)
France - Mardi Gras, which means Grease or Fat Tuesday.
Iceland - "Sprengidagur" (Bursting day).
Shrove Tuesday celebrations
Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration as well as penitence, because it's the last day before Lent.
Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren't allowed in Lent.
Giving up foods: but not wasting them
During Lent there are many foods that some Christians - historically and today - would not eat: foods such as meat and fish, fats, eggs, and milky foods.
So that no food was wasted, families would have a feast on the shriving Tuesday, and eat up all the foods that wouldn't last the forty days of Lent without going off.
The need to eat up the fats gave rise to the French name Mardi Gras ('fat Tuesday'). Pancakes became associated with Shrove Tuesday as they were a dish that could use up all the eggs, fats and milk in the house with just the addition of flour.
The origin of pancake racing
Pancake races are thought to have begun in 1445. A woman had lost track of the time on Shrove Tuesday, and was busy cooking pancakes in her kitchen.
Suddenly she heard the church bell ringing to call the faithful to church for confession. The woman raced out of her house and ran all the way to church; still holding her frying pan and wearing her apron.
Going for gold in the pancake Olympics
One of the most famous pancake races is held at Olney in Buckinghamshire over a 415 yard course. The rules are strict; contestants have to toss their pancake at both the start and the finish, as well as wearing an apron and a scarf. The race is followed by a church service.
Since 1950 Olney has competed with Liberal in Kansas, which holds an identical race, to see which town can produce the fastest competitor. After the 2000 race, Liberal was leading with 26 wins to Olney's 24.
Famous Pancake Races in UK :-
Olney, Buckinghamshire, Market Place to Parish Church
For more details contact - The Olney Town Council, +44 (0)1234 711679
Leadenhall Market Pancake Race (London)
The Leadenhall Market Pancake Race starts at 1pm, The race starts outside the Lamb Tavern. The event is free to watch.
Parliamentary Pancake Race London - Victoria Tower Gardens. The race starts at 10.15am. This spectator event is free to attend.
The Better Bankside Pancake Day Race (London) – Nearest tube –Tower Bridge
The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race (London) –Nearest Tube – Liverpool Street
Swindon Town Center (Swindon Wiltshire ) - 12 :30 Noon
Olney PanCake Race