Question time: What is Pancake Day?

Wenn in Deutschland Fastnacht gefeiert wird, begehen die Briten traditonell den “Pancake Day”. Vor dem Beginn der Fastenzeit wird an diesem Tag noch einmal ausgiebig geschlemmt. Woher die jahrhundertealte Tradition kommt und warum rennende Menschen mit Bratpfannen in der Hand an diesem Tag keine Seltenheit sind, erfahren Sie in diesem Auszug aus der Read On.


What is Pancake Day?

By Franziska Lange

1 Some people might say every day is a good day for pancakes. But in the UK and parts of the Commonwealth, there is also an official Pancake Day. It’s the day before Ash Wednesday, which is six weeks before Easter. So, depending on when Easter falls, Pancake Day is in February or March. This year, Pancake Day is on March 1.

2 Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, traditionally a time of fasting for Christians. It’s the last chance to use up animal produce like eggs, meat, milk and fats, which Christians who observe Lent are not allowed to eat for the next 40 days. The easiest way to use up milk, eggs and butter is to make pancakes. The earliest known pancake recipe is from 1439.

3 Pancake Day is also known as Shrove Tuesday. On that day, Christians would go to church to be “shriven”, or absolved from their sins, before Lent began. The church bell ringing for people to go to church and confess became known as the “pancake bell”.

4 Legend has it that in 1445, a woman in Buckinghamshire heard the bell while she was making pancakes. She ran to church, still holding her frying pan with a pancake in it. To this day, there are pancake races all over England on Pancake Day. People in fancy dress have to run a course while holding a frying pan and tossing a pancake.

5 Feel like joining the celebrations this year? Running down your street with a frying pan in hand might get you some strange looks, so just enjoying some pancakes might be the better option. A traditional English pancake is very thin and served fresh from the pan, with lemon wedges and caster sugar. Happy Pancake Day!


0–1 pancake Pfannkuchen – Commonwealth loser Staatenbund unter dem Patronat der britischen Krone — Ash Wednesday Aschermittwoch — depending on je nachdem — … when Easter falls h.: … auf welches Datum Ostern fällt

2 Lent Buß-; Fastenzeit — to fast fasten — Christian Christ(in) — to use up aufbrauchen — animal produce tierische Produkte — to observe h.: einhalten — to be allowed to do  tun dürfen — recipe Rezept

3 Shrove Tuesday Fastnacht; Fasching — to be absolved from one’s sins die Absolution erhalten (s. Sünden) — bell Glocke — to ring läuten — to confess beichten

4 legend has it der Legende nach — frying pan Bratpfanne — to this day bis heute — race Rennen — fancy dress Kostüm — to run a course auf einer festgelegten Strecke laufen — to toss h.: wenden

5 celebrations Feierlichkeiten — strange looks komische Blicke — lemon wedge Zitronenspalte — caster sugar Feinzucker


Foto: Pixabay