Happy Pancake Tuesday!
Happy Pancake Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday, Carnival, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, depending on where in the world you live.
Here’s a little history lesson for the day…
In Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland the day is known as “Pancake Day” as it is a common custom to eat pancakes as a meal. Pancake races are held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom. The tradition is said to have originated in 1445 when a housewife was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake, tossing it to prevent it from burning. Even today, participants with frying pans race through the streets tossing pancakes into the air and catching them in the pan while running.Here is a video showing “The Great Pancake Race” in action.
In Portuguese, Spanish and Italian speaking countries, it is known as Carnival. This derives from the words “carne levare” which means to take away meat. It is often celebrated with street processions or fancy dress. The most famous of these events is the Brazilian Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, while the Venetians celebrate carnival with a masquerade.
In Iceland the day is known as Bursting Day and is marked by eating salted meat and peas.
In Lithuania the day is called Užgavėnės. People eat pancakes and Lithuanian-style doughnuts called spurgos.
In Sweden the day is called Fat Tuesday and is generally celebrated by eating a type of pastry called semla.
In Finland the day is called laskiainen and is generally celebrated by eating green pea soup and a pastry called laskiaispulla, which is a sweet bread filled with whipped cream and jam or almond paste. The celebration often includes sledding.
In some parts of Switzerland, the day is called Güdisdienstag. The term derives from “Güdel”, which means a fat stomach full of food.
In some areas of the United States with large Polish communities, such as Chicago, Buffalo and the Detroit enclave of Hamtramck, Paczki Day is celebrated with paczki-eating contests, music and other Polish food.
So there you have it. Now go and eat some pancakes for dinner!