What does Shrove Tuesday meaning and why do we celebrate Pancake Day?


Pancake Day is coming, but when is it exactly? (Credits: Getty Images)

Pancake Day 2024 is now upon us, but when is it exactly?

The best day of the year to show off your flipping skills, which is known to Christians as Shrove Tuesday, takes place every year but falls on a different date depending on when Easter is.

So, when does Pancake Day fall this year? And why do we celebrate Shrove Tuesday?

When is Pancake Day 2024?

When is Pancake Day 2024? (Credits: Getty Images)

First things first, don’t panic. This year, Pancake Day takes place today – Tuesday, February 13.

If you don’t have your ingredients at home to whip up some pancakes after work today, there’s still time to grab them later.

Shrove Tuesday always falls on the seventh week before Easter, and the day before Ash Wednesday – and in this case, Valentine’s Day as well. The period of Lent begins on Wednesday as well.

Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?

What are the ingredients for pancakes? (Credits: Getty Images)

Shrove Tuesday is traditionally for people to gain penance from God before they begin fasting, which is why it falls on the day before the Lent fast begins.

Shrove is the past tense of the word shrive, which means to present oneself to a priest for confession, penance, and absolution.

The day also marks the time for people to enjoy sweet, rich and fatty foods one last time before fasting begins. But why pancakes in particular?

Pancakes are traditionally eaten because they were a way to use the rich foods people had left over – such as eggs and milk – before they expired during the long fast.

You could make savoury pancakes instead of sweet ones (Credits: Getty Images)

Eggs, flour, salt and milk are said to represent the four pillars of the Christian faith.All the extras such as whipped cream, maple syrup, blueberries and chocolate are just (very delicious) modern additions.

Whether you like lashing pancakes in lemon and sugar, maple syrup, or topping with bananas and other fruit, there’s certainly lots of fun to be had with customising your own.

You might even choose to make savoury pancakes by using bacon or eggs as your topping. There are also gluten-free and vegan options.

But if you want to follow tradition, this is what the simple ingredients represent in Christianity – flour as the mainstay of the human diet, salt for wholesomeness, milk represents purity, and eggs represent creation.

When is Pancake Day 2025?

Do you want to be one step ahead next year? Calendars at the ready, folks.

Pancake Day always falls on a Tuesday – and in 2025 it will take place on Tuesday, March 4.

This means we’ll have to wait quite a while after New Year’s to celebrate Pancake Day.

In 2026, it will fall on Tuesday, February 17.

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