Pancake Tuesday around the Globe

By on February 9, 2016

Shrove Tuesday (known in some countries as Pancake Tuesday) is a day in February preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes. In others it is called Mardi Gras or some translation thereof, this is a carnival day, and also the last day of “fat eating” or “gorging” before the fasting period of Lent.

Pancake Tuesday is February 9th this year and the following day – February 10th is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Traditionally in Ireland, Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients. Lemon juice and caster sugar are the traditional toppings for pancakes, but these days there is a huge array of toppings to choose from.

Of course, while Ash Wednesday is a fixture in many calendars around the world the day before isn’t always dominated by pancakes.

In Denmark they swap pancakes for buns, and celebrate by dressing up and going from house to house collecting money. In Brazil’s Rio world-famous samba celebration takes place over the week leading up to Ash Wednesday and dates from 1723. In the US, it’s the Mardi Gras – the French for ‘fat Tuesday’, the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans is known as a week-long celebration. In Poland, on the Tuesday before Lent begins, the day is called Sledziowka, or ‘Herring Day’, and involves eating a lot of the fish. In France, the day was known as Mardi Gras. In Italy, Spain, and Portugal the day became known as Carnival. The French term Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” and the Italian word Carnival means “to remove meat.

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