The most indulgent day of the year is here once again. No, we’re not talking about Christmas, or Easter – it’s Pancake Day. The one date in the calendar when you can absolutely eat the same dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner – without guilt, without shame.
Seasoned flippers have been practicing, supermarkets have been stocking up on sauces and spreads for alternative toppings, and now the time is finally here to show off your skills.
So, get your ingredients ready, grease your pan and don your apron. Here is everything you need to know about this year’s traditional feast day, from why we celebrate to how to ensure your pancakes are as fluffy as clouds – whether you prefer a thin British classic or a fluffy American stack.
Why do we eat pancakes today?
Pancake Day has been celebrated in Britain for centuries as the feast day before Ash Wednesday, when the fasting season begins.
Historically, Anglo-Saxon Christians would go to confession on Shrove Tuesday to be absolved of their sins, before indulging in rich fat-based foods to use up ingredients ahead of Lent.
However, it is believed that the Christian Pancake Day was in fact borrowed from an old pagan festival to welcome the arrival of spring. Circular, hot pancakes were seen to symbolise the sun, providing those who ate them with the sun’s power and strength.
What does Shrove Tuesday mean?
Shrove Tuesday originates from the Old English word ‘shrive’, which means to give absolution once hearing confession, usually by a priest. The day marks the end of Pre-Lenten Season, also known as Shrovetide.
Why is Pancake Day celebrated on a different date each year?
This year, Shrove Tuesday falls on February 13, but the exact date of Pancake Day changes year on year as it is determined by when Easter falls – which can also differ annually due to the spring equinox.
Shrove Tuesday is always celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, which takes place 40 days before Easter to represent Jesus’ 40 days spent fasting in the desert.
How do I flip my pancake perfectly?
The all-important question. Many a family argument has been sparked due to over-confident flips and splattered batter, resulting in tears, tantrums and reluctant clean-ups. So, what is the secret to a slick flick of the wrist?
Top tips for successful flipping
- Use a steel or cast-iron pan (not a non-stick one), greased with a little oil
- If the edges of the pancake don’t come away from the sides of the pan when you give it a gentle shake, it’s not ready to be flipped
- Be confident, and use the same action as you would when tossing a stir-fry
The Telegraph’s favourite pancake recipes
Sophie Anderson, a UK-based writer, is your guide to the latest trends, viral sensations, and internet phenomena. With a finger on the pulse of digital culture, she explores what’s trending across social media and pop culture, keeping readers in the know about the latest online sensations.