Ever Heard of Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day? Here's How This Celebration Started

Have you heard of Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday? 

This is very popular in many Christian countries around the world, especially in Europe, and has been celebrated annually with a festival of fun, games, and food.

Shrove Tuesday is also celebrated as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras in some parts of the world especially France and New Orleans in the United States.

Pancake Day!

This year 2021, Pancake Day falls on February 16, that's also Shrove Tuesday, or a day before Lent season began.

My simple Cinnamon pancake

Whether you find delight in decadent, gourmet-style pancakes or prefer the simple, fluffy one (like this recipe I made that looked like a bibingka because it is made of cinnamon powder haha!) Pancake day is a day to indulge on savory pancakes and other sweets before the start of Lent season.

Pancake Day is an annual festival enjoyed by people across the world who believed that Lent season is a time to abstain from luxurious things including expensive food.

From its religious significance to creating different pancake style, here's what you need to know about Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday.

How it started?

Pancake day, believed to have been started in Europe by early Christians, is celebrated on Shrove Tuesday, or Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. 

In Western churches (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and other Christian denominations who believed in Jesus Christ) during ancient times, eggs, sugar and fat were commonly forbidden during the Lent season because these are considered as luxurious food.

In order not to waste eggs, sugar, flour and butter, early Christians made it to pancakes, the easier recipe to make. Thus, the tradition began.

Shrove Tuesday then became a day to get rid of flour eggs, milk and sugar in preparation for Lent season that kicks off on Ash Wednesday. 

Shrove Tuesday has since celebrated in many countries through different festivals. Pancake Day, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras are the most common.

What is Shrove Tuesday?

It derived from the word "shrive" means to confess sin as a preparation of Lent. It is a day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent season in most Christian denominations.

Shrove Tuesday marks the end of consuming luxurious food as Christians prepare for Lent season, traditionally a time to repent, sacrifice, fast, abstain from earthly activities.

In the middle ages in Britain, Anglo-Saxon Christians would go to confession and were shriven or absolved from sin. A bell rung calling people to go to confession. This has become known as the Pancake Bell which still practiced today.

Shrove Tuesday has been a practice in Europe since the Middle Ages and gone a long way to every part of the globe since then, marking the day with feast and celebration of games, fun and sweet food to prepare for the austere practice of the Lent season.

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, this date varies every year because Easter Sunday never falls on the same date.

Although the day is sometimes still used for self-examination and meditation, Shrove Tuesday eventually acquired the character of a carnival or festival in many places and is often celebrated with parades.

Shrove Tuesday in many parts of the world

In Ireland it's called Pancake Tuesday. In New Orleans, USA, it's celebrated as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, a carnival of fun games and sweet food.

In Sweden it's called Fettisdagen or Fat Tuesday where they prepared a round bun called Fettisdag buller, with icing, sugar and whipped cream.

In France, it is also called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday where a carnival is organized with parades, concert and street theatre where people wore crazy masks.

In ancient times, Fat Tuesday is marked with a parade of an ox through Paris every Tuesday before Ash Wednesday to remind people that they were not allowed to eat meat during Lent season.

In Poland, Shrove Tuesday is called Sledziowka where cooking herring fish in style is the center of the celebration.

In Lithuania it's called Uzgavenes, which has a transaltion of "time before Lent". A festival celebrated in public squares and parks with fun, games, humor and plenty of food.

We're a bit late marking Pancake Day this year. I got so busy last Tuesday too. But next year, let's have it done on Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. And after that, get rid off luxurious food as we enter Lent.

My own recipe of pancake

This morning, I've whipped up a quick pancake concoction to consume while working. And this is how I made my own home recipe. Fluffy cinnamon pancake, without jam or syrup or honey, just pancake. 

Fluffy Cinnamon Pancake:


  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon powder
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup Muscovado sugar (organic)
  • 1/2 stick butter 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose cream
  • 2 cups of water
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl
  • Add milk and all-purpose cream
  • Add 2 eggs
  • Add butter
  • Add water
  • Mix together until no lump
  • Heat canola oil in a pan
  • Scoop pancake batter and pour in heated oil
  • Check constantly not to get burn.
  • Flip over and remove.
Enjoying pancake with tea in the garden while working
Cinnamon pancake and Earl Grey Tea

Lent Season

Officially it's Lent season in the Christian world. This solemn observance started on February 17, Ash Wednesday, and will end on Good Friday. After which, we will have Black Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Have a meaningful observance of the Lent season everyone! 

May we have a solemn observance of this most important season of Christianity especially during this difficult time. May our spirit be filled with love, hope and generosity to people in need. And may we all have a season filled with gratefulness and blessings.

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