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Traditional English roast





Pancake Day

On Tuesday 24 February 2009, millions of Britons will be eating pancakes. Find out why!


Pancake Day (also called Shrove Tuesday) is the day before Lent. Lent is a Christian tradition, a 40-day period of fasting (=giving up certain foods) before Easter. The custom of making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday came from the need to use all the butter, milk and eggs before Lent. These foods, and also meat, were generally not allowed during Lent.


These days, Lent is more relaxed, but Pancake Day is still celebrated, by both Christians and non-Christians.


Let's Cook!

So, what are British pancakes like? Well, they are wider than American ones and thicker than French crêpes. They are made from flour, butter, milk and eggs, and are traditionally served with lemon juice and sugar. These days, however, a lot of toppings are used, such as syrup, fruit, ice cream or chocolate spread. You can see a traditional recipe here.


The most enjoyable part of cooking a pancake is tossing it - lifting the pan suddenly so that the pancake turns over in the air and lands in the pan. Accidents sometimes happen but it's all part of the fun!


Pancake Day Games

In some small towns and villages, there are very old, traditional and unusual ways of celebrating Pancake Day. One example is the Pancake Day Race that takes place in Olney, Buckinghamshire. Contestants have to run very fast, carrying a frying pan and tossing a pancake. This tradition started in the 15th century and is now shared by a small town in America. The fastest person from the two towns is the winner.


In other parts of the country, ball games are played, including some crazy football games with huge crowds of people all trying to get the ball. Some of these games are up to 1,000 years old. The Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football Game in Derbyshire is a good example of a Shrove Tuesday ball game. Click here to see a short video.


You can find out more about Pancake Day by visiting the Woodlands Junior School website.




Related Pages

British Culture: Festivals

British Culture: Food

Learn By Hobby: Food - practise English according to YOUR interests

Learn By Hobby: Football - practise English according to YOUR interests



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