Pancake Races
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Shrove Tuesday & Pancake Games
This day is for making, sharing and enjoying pancakes.
Shrove Tuesday, (also known as Pancake Day), because it is customary to eat pancakes on this day. Yes pancakes! Anyway you can get them.

On Pancake Day, customary pancake races are held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom.

Shrove Tuesday traditions particular to the United Kingdom

On Pancake Day, pancake races are held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom.

But the tradition of pancake racing had started long before that. The most famous pancake race, at Olney in Buckinghamshire, has been held since 1445. The contestants, traditionally women, carry a frying pan and race to the finishing line tossing the pancakes as they go. As the pancakes are thin, some skill is required to toss them successfully while running. The winner is the first to cross the line having tossed the pancake a certain number of times.

The tradition is said to have originated:
when a housewife from Olney was so busy making pancakes, that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake.

"International Pancake Day Race"
Since 1950 the people of Liberal, Kansas, USA and Olney have held the "International Pancake Day" race between the two towns. The two towns' competitors race along an agreed-upon course, and the times of all of the two towns' competitors are compared, to determine a winner. After the 2000 race, Liberal was leading with 26 wins to Olney's 24.

In North Somercotes in the county of Lincolnshire in Eastern England, a race takes place every year in the village. There are three categories - adults, children from 11 to 16 and under 11s. Each person receives a frying pan and has to race from one end of a field to the other, tossing their pancake at least once every few seconds on the way. As in the Buckinghamshire race, the winner is the first to cross the line, having tossed their pancake several times and with the pancake still in tact.

Also, in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, the foreshore road (beach)is closed off, schools close early and all residents are invited to skip in the road!

The Pancake Greaze
Another local tradition, the Pancake Greaze, takes place every year at Westminster School in London. A pancake, reinforced with horsehair, is prepared in advance and on Shrove Tuesday tossed into the air "up School". The boys at the school then attempt to get as much of it as they can. See the Customs section in wikipedia of the Westminster School article.

Photo at top of page:
Pupils fight for the pancake (left), watched by the Dean of Westminster Abbey and the Head Master (right). The set of scales will determine the winner.

How can I Celebrate this holiday?


Related Categories:
National Breakfast Holidays /Common Breakfast Foods /
National Hot Tea Month /Breakfast /Second Breakfast /Types of Pancakes
Cooking Pancakes /Shrove Tuesday /Drink Holidays /Food Holidays
Fruit Holidays /Butter Recipes /