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British Life & Culture

Special Events and Celebrations

by Mandy Barrow

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Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)
4 March 2014
Woodlands Junior School is in the south-east corner of England

Shrovetide - The count down to Shrove Tuesday begins on Egg Saturday. Did you know the day before Shrove Tuesday is known as Collop Monday? Find out why here

pancakeIn the UK, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day (or Pancake Tuesday to some people) because it is the one day of the year when almost everyone eats a pancake.

In 2014 Pancake Day is on Tuesday 4 March

What happens on Pancake Day in England?

Read on to find out why we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and other facts about this special time of year.

What is Pancake Day?

Pancake Day ( also known as Shrove Tuesday) is the last day before the period which Christians call Lent. It is traditional on this day to eat pancakes. copyright of

rolled pancake

Why are Pancakes eaten on Shrove Tuesday?

Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren't allowed in Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.

When is Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)?

Shrove Tuesday is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday and is therefore the final day before the commencement of Lent, a Christian festival leading up to Easter Sunday (Easter Day).

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between 3 February and 9 March. (See our Lent page for a visual explanation why Shrove Tuesday is 47 days and not 41 days before Easter)

In 2014 Pancake Day will be on 4 March
2008 — 5 February
2009 — 24 February
2010 — 16 February
2011 — 8 March
2012 — 21 February
2013 — 12 February
2014 — 4 March
2015 — 17 February
2016 — 9 February
2017 — 28 February

Why do Christians call the day 'Shrove Tuesday'?

The name Shrove comes from the old word "shrive" which means to confess. On Shrove Tuesday, in the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began. copyright of

What is Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration as well as penitence, because it's the last day before Lent. Throughout the United Kingdom, and in other countries too, people indulge themselves on foods that traditionally aren't allowed during Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent. copyright of

What is an English Pancake?

A pancake is a thin, flat cake, made of batter and fried in a pan.

The photograph shows a pancake
being cooked in a frying pan.

Caster sugar (superfine sugar) is sprinkled over the top and a dash of fresh lemon juice added. The pancake is then rolled. Some people add golden syrup or jam. copyright of

(Click here for a pancake recipe)

Pancake Day in England

Other names for Shrove Tuesday

United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia - Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday

Brazil - Terça-feira gorda - Fat Tuesday - the final day of Brazilian Carnival.

Greece - Apocreas, which means "from the meat" since they don't eat meat during Lent, either.

Sweden - Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday).

USA In Catholic and French-speaking parts of the United States this day is called Mardi Gras.

Germany - "Fastnacht" (Also spelt "Fasnacht", "Fasenacht", "Fasteloven" (in the Rhine area) or "Fasching" in Bavaria.)

In France they call it Mardi Gras, which means Grease or Fat Tuesday.

In Iceland the day is known as "Sprengidagur" (Bursting day).

Click here to find out how Pancake day is celebrated in other countries around the world.

Click here to download this page


Pancake Day in England


A few of our comments from our visitors

"I was searching for a simple explanation of Shrovetide and Lent for my 6 year old daughter. I was very lucky to find your website first."
Sue Keenan, Leics

"I found your site while looking up Shrove Tuesday. In the U.S.A., most Protestants don't celebrate Lent, so I knew nothing about it. I homeschool my children and after reading about it, we will have Pancakes today and discuss the history and meaning of Lent. Great site!"

"I must compliment you on the clear and informative style of your presentation. As a Christian believer of many years, and also a retired secondary school teacher I am pleased to note that a school is prepared to present information about the Christian festivals which is so desperately needed in our country today. Many people do not know about these festivals let alone having any experience of faith,regular worship, or attending church on a Sunday. "


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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and 
are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.