What Is Shrove Tuesday And Why Do We Eat Pancakes?

  • Family

Do you consider yourself a sweet or savoury person when it comes to pancakes? Do you reach for the lemon and sugar, a jar of Nutella or peanut butter and strawberries? Or do you favour something a bit more cheesy and salty?

However you enjoy yours, you’ve gotta admit that Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday if you’re religiously inclined), is a highlight in any pancake-lovers calendar. If you’re planning to go batter crazy this year on Tuesday the 25th February, you might also be gearing up to field questions from curious little people about why we eat pancakes on a particular day and what it all actually means. We’ve got you covered, parents! 

Shrove Tuesday

Image: NeighborFood

Ok so get your notepads out, ‘cause we’re about to have a little history lesson. Shrove Tuesday is a Christian festival that marks the start of Lent—a period of 40 days where Christians are meant to practise abstinence – by giving up luxuries or unnecessary things. It’s intended to be a period of reflection and preparation before Easter begins, in order to replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. The day after Shrove Tuesday is Ash Wednesday, and this is when Lent officially starts. It ends on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday.

Got that? Good!

But Why Pancakes?!

Image: Simple Bites

It’s a good question—but one with a sensible answer. Historically, as families prepared to fast during Lent, they needed to use up the household items that they wouldn’t be consuming during the period—which included eggs, milk and butter—and an effective and decadent way of doing that was by making pancakes.

Simple, really—and we certainly aren’t complaining!

Pancake-Making Tips

If you’re gearing up for a pancake day with little hands involved, you’re in luck! The recipe is straight forward, there’s lots of opportunity for mixing and touching the ingredients, plus the opportunities for creativity when it comes to the toppings are endless! Here are our top tips for making it a success:

  • Have lots of toppings ready! Small people will love trying new flavours together. Think fruit, spreads, sweet, savoury…anything goes
  • Prepare to get very messy! It’s only once a year…
  • Let the kids try flipping the pancakes (providing they’re of an appropriate age, of course). Even if it costs you a few picture-perfect pancakes, it’ll be worth it for the fun-factor
  • If you’re an advanced family of pancake makers, you might be able to graduate from round ones to different shapes. Search options on Google and YouTube and prepare for some serious fun (and trial and error, of course.)
Hero image: The Spruce Eats

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