Shrove Tuesday, the day preceding Ash Wednesday or the first day of Lent for many Christians of all denominations, is also known as ‘Pancake’ day where pancakes are the mainstay of the day.
In Bruce County, there were ‘pancake’ dinners everywhere at almost every church and community centre.
Bevan Hall at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Southampton was full as residents came out to enjoy the pancakes smothered in Maple syrup with a side of sausage.
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The history of Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, itself is interesting.
The name “pancake” started during the 15th century but became standard in 19th century America. Previously, they were called Indian cakes, hoe cakes, johnnycakes, journey cakes, buckwheat cakes, buckwheats, griddle cakes, and flapjacks. Early American pancakes were made with buckwheat or cornmeal.
Pancakes exist all over the world in some form or other and it seems that each culture has its own unique kind. They are served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all over the globe. A few examples of this trans-cultural food are: Crepes (French), potato latkes (Jewish), Irish boxty, Russian blini, Welsh crampog, Indian poori, Hungarian palacsinta, and Dutch pannenkoeken.
In some countries, it is also called ‘Mardi Gras’ or the last day of ‘fat eating’ before Lent. It was traditional in many societies to eat pancakes or other foods made with the butter, eggs and fat that would be given up during the Lenten season. The specific custom of British Christians eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday dates back to the 16th century.
Shrove is a form of the English word ‘shrive’ that means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and doing penance. Therefore, Shrove Tuesday was named for the custom of being ‘shriven’ before the beginning of Lent. (Wiikipedia).
‘Pancake’ day is the last chance for decadent eating before giving up indulgences for the following 40 days leading up to Easter.
Have you given up anything?