What is Pancake Tuesday? 10 years ago

What is Pancake Tuesday?

Yes, it's finally rolled around again! Everyone loves Pancake Tuesday but what exactly is it and why are we all stuffing our faces today?

We have answers to all your Pancake Tuesday related questions right here.


Okay, what is Pancake Tuesday?

Pancake Tuesday (or Pancake Day) basically marks the start of Lent – you know those 40 days where you try (and usually fail miserably) to give up chocolate or some other bad habit. It’s an old Christian holiday and was seen as the last “feast” day before Lent. So basically, you gorge yourself on whatever you’re trying to give up so you won’t miss it as much. Sort of.

But why pancakes? Why can’t it be Alcohol Tuesday or Chocolate Tuesday?


Apparently, back in the day, butter, eggs and other dairy products were seen as rich foods and because Pancake Tuesday marked the start of over a month’s worth of abstinence, people wanted to get a little crazy and indulge. Wild, right? We’re not sure whose idea it was to chuck a load of eggs, milk and butter together but whoever it was, they’re a hero in our eyes. Today is all about eating as much as you can and fattening yourself up before the 40 days of Lent, so don’t feel guilty when you’re on your sixth pancake – it’s tradition to get fat today.

Interesting...but what’s all this about Shrove Tuesday? Why do some people call it that? What the hell is a shrove?

Shrove comes from the old word “shrive” which literally means “to confess.” Because Pancake Tuesday is essentially a holy holiday, it has religious undertones. People would use today to confess all their sins so their souls were all nice and squeaky clean before they embarked on Lent, traditionally seen as a time of penance. So people would get all their indulgences and sins out of their systems today to make sure they were physically and spiritually prepared for Lent.

Some old people still call today Shrove Tuesday, but for our generation the religious aspect isn’t as important, so we just call it Pancake Tuesday.


So, what’s the deal then? Is this something that just happens in Ireland or do other countries celebrate it?

Pretty much everywhere around the world celebrates Pancake Tuesday, although they have different customs. In Brazil the holiday is known as “Mardi Gras” and in other parts of the world it is affectionately known as “Fat Tuesday.” The Swedish call it “Fettisdagen” and the Danes call it “Fastelavn.” The central theme of the day however is eating yourself into a coma. In some countries in Europe, they eat buns stuffed with cream instead of pancakes and in Canada, it’s tradition to put coins, wedding rings, buttons and other things into pancakes.

How many pancakes would I have to eat in order to make a world record? Just out of curiosity like…

In 2008 a Russian man by the name of Andrei Smirnov ate 73 pancakes in an hour. So you’d have to inhale at least 74 pancakes in an hour to make yourself a world record holder. Are you up for the challenge?


No. I’ll just settle for eating as much as I can today.

Excellent choice. Now, can somebody pass the squeezy lemon?