Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pancake Day

Halfway through a day of "in-processing" at our new base, Tim informed me that today is Pancake Day in the UK.

"What does that mean?" I asked.

"I don't know," he answered, "I guess they eat pancakes today."


"I don't know."

"Have you seen anyone eating pancakes?"

"No, but they said if we go off base we'll find everyone eating pancakes."

"I went off base," I said. "I didn't see anyone eating pancakes."

"Huh." He replied.

And that would have been the extent of our first celebration in the UK if not for Wikipedia. A quick search (click here) informed me that Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the tame British way to celebrate the day before Lent, just as the Germans have Fasching (a wild, drunken, national party that I have personally witnessed) and New Orleans has Mardi Gras. According to Wikipedia: The word shrove is a past tense of the English verb "shrive," which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by confessing and doing penance. Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the shriving (confession) that Anglo-Saxon Christians were expected to receive immediately before Lent. The reason that pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent is that the 40 days of Lent form a period of liturgical fasting, during which only the plainest foodstuffs may be eaten. Therefore, rich ingredients such as eggs, milk, and sugar are disposed of immediately prior to the commencement of the fast. Pancakes and doughnuts were therefore an efficient way of using up these perishable goods, besides providing a minor celebratory feast prior to the fast itself.

You learn something new everyday!


  1. That is very interesting. I always enjoy hearing all the new "different" things you learn about other countries.

  2. I like pancakes I think we should have a national pancake day what do you think?