Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday is a question that pops up every February.
As with chocolate and giant rabbits, millions around the world are justifiably baffled by society’s decision to go pancake mad for one day in mid-February.
Obviously, the annual scoffathon leaves very little cause for complaint.
But it’s still curious that, in an age where breakfast options are more glorious than ever, we continue to dedicate an entire day to pancake eating.
So why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and how did the tradition start?
Here's everything you need to know...
Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?
Almost all experts agree that the pancake Shrove Tuesday tradition owes a lot to Christian history.
The exact origins date back to medieval Christendom and ritual that relate to the custom of Lent – a festival during which participants agree to absolve themselves of sin and seek spiritual growth.
In practice, this meant giving up tasty things for 40 days.
This period of abstinence was preceded by one day of unadulterated gluttony.
Peasants would celebrate a "Fat Tuesday" by stuffing themselves with the most indulgent foods they could get their hands on.
Lacking the wherewithal to sample a Krispy Kreme or KFC, they settled for the next best thing – a blend of milk, eggs and butter, cooked in a pan.
It's a habit that we still haven't broken.
What is the significance of Shrove Tuesday?
In the Christian calendar, Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday – which marks the start of Lent.
Ash Wednesday is always 40 days before Easter Sunday. This period symbolises the 40 days and 40 nights Jesus spent in the desert fasting before his crucifixion.
It was during this period that Christians believe the devil visited Jesus in an effort to tempt him. However, according to the Bible, Jesus was able to resist temptation each time.
Christians traditionally mark what Jesus did by making a sacrifice during Lent. This is typically a food they particularly enjoy – for example, chocolate.
During Lent, they must resist temptation just as Jesus did for 40 days and 40 nights until Easter Sunday. On Shrove Tuesdays, Christians indulge in sweet treats in celebration ahead of their Lenten sacrifice.
Christians are also supposed to use Shrove Tuesday for confession and absolution.
Interestingly, the term Shrove Tuesday, actually comes from the word "shrive", which means "to absolve".
When was the first Pancake Day start?
There’s no exact record of the first Pancake Day celebration.
However, many people suspect that it dates from around 1000 AD.
In Britain, there's evidence to suggest that communities have held pancake races since the mid-fifteenth-century, while Mardi-Gras has been an integral part of the European and Cajun calendar for hundreds of years.
Today, both the festival of Lent and the significance of the pancake have changed considerably.
When you have a diet rich in fried chicken and pizza, eggs, milk and flour feel about as indulgent as a carrot salad.
However, just because our eating habits have become more extreme in the last 500 years, it doesn’t mean that pancakes don’t still have their place.
Plus, any day where pancakes are the centre of attention is definitely worth keeping.
When is Pancake Day 2022?
Next year, Pancake Day will take place on Tuesday, March 1.
However, Pancake Day is also celebrated on a different date every year. This is because is Easter is always celebrated on a Sunday and Shrove Tuesday is always 41 days before Easter.
Of course, waking up to a huge plate of pancakes is obviously welcome, whatever the time of year.
But this is the day to go all out.
For Pancake Day 2021, Twisted have put together some of the most delicious pancake recipes on the planet.
Check them out and let us know how you get on.