Pancake Day: A Journey Through History and Traditions

Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, has a rich history and diverse traditions across the globe. Its roots lie in the Christian calendar, specifically the period leading up to Lent.


  • Pre-Christian: Pancakes resemble flatbreads enjoyed in ancient cultures worldwide, suggesting their independent development across regions.
  • Christian Connection: Early Christians used up  ingredients like eggs and dairy before the fasting period of Lent, leading to the tradition of pancake feasts.

Global Traditions:

  • Europe:
    • England: Pancake races, “shriving” (seeking forgiveness), and indulging in sweet and savoury pancakes.
    • France: Crêpes with various fillings, costumes, and parades (Mardi Gras).
    • Poland: “Fat Thursday” with heavy feasting on pancakes, pastries, and doughnuts.
    • Lithuania: “Uzgavenes” with masked parades, pranks, and traditional pancakes called “blynai.”
    • Russia: A blini  is a Russian (&  Eastern European) version made from various kinds of flour or buckwheat, wheat, with their shape and colour, blini symbolized the long-awaited Sun
  • Americas:
    • USA: Fluffy pancakes often enjoyed year-round, not just on a specific day.
    • Brazil: It is often celebrated with street processions or fancy dress. The most famous of these events has become the Brazilian Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Other Regions:
    • Japan: “Hotcakes” with maple syrup or savory toppings.
    • India: “Poda” or “dosa” made with fermented rice and lentil batter.
    • Ethiopia: “Injera,” a spongy sourdough flatbread eaten with stews.

Interesting Twists:

  • The Olney Pancake Race: Women race while flipping pancakes and is the oldest race in the UK. The races commemorating a legendary housewife who rushed to church with her pancake in 1445.
  • “Pancake Flipping” Competitions: Showcasing acrobatic skills and creative flips for entertainment.
  • Coin in the Pancake: A hidden coin brings good luck to whoever finds it!

Modern Significance:

While religious aspects diminish in some regions, Pancake Day remains a joyous celebration of community, indulgence, and creativity. It’s a day to gather loved ones, experiment with flavours, and embrace the playful spirit of the holiday.

A modern tradition is to ‘toss a pancake’  See here on Youtube

Most expensive pancake in the World 
Chef Matthew Downes at Opus Restaurant in Manchester, England has created the most expensive pancake in the world for $1,300. The chef prepares pancake with Scottish native Paradise lobster, Russian Beluga caviar, Hulle Verge truffles, Scottish mussels and langoustines.
St Annes on Sea
There did used to be a local race on St Annes Prom by local Chefs, managed to find these photos from 2014!!! We should campaign to bring it back.
Do you know who one of the well known Chef is?
pancake race st annes on sea prom

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