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What is Pancake Day?

Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is more than an excuse to eat pancakes - actually, that's exactly what is it! The tradition has its roots in religious practise, and has been celebrated since the 16th century.

What is the origin of Pancake Day?

Pancake Day represents a final day for indulgence, and an opportunity to use up food that can't be eaten during Lent, which lasts for 40 days beginning on Ash Wednesday. This commonly included eggs, salt, fat and milk - perfect for making pancakes before they go to waste! This is why pancakes have become so associated with Shrove Tuesday. So it's true - at it's core Pancake Day is an excuse for eating pancakes!

Pancake Woman, 1768, by Cornelis Ploos van Amstel

Where does the name "Shrove Tuesday" come from?

Shrove, derived from shrive, refers to the confession of sins as a preparation for Lent - essentially the seeking of absolution from these sins. It is this deeply rooted religious practise that gives us the day that so many people enjoy - religious or not!

This religious background also determines the changing date of Pancake Day every year - which always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday.

Some believe the ingredients for pancakes symbolises the religious practices during this time of year:

Eggs = Creation

Flour = The staff of life

Salt = Wholesomeness

Milk = Purity

Tips on celebrating Pancake Day

Fortunately some traditional activities on Pancake Day have been long left-behind - such as cock fighting! But you can still enjoy a pancake race with frying pan in hand. Or a pancake toss, where pancakes are tossed over a 5 meter bar - the winner is the one who grabs the biggest portion.

BUT the best way to enjoy Pancake Day is, of course, to eat pancakes! We reckon the fun part is in creating your own combination of toppings. If you use Marcel's Pancakes, you can save the mess and time of making pancakes and spend more time being creative! Check out these recipes for inspiration.

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