If you have just moved into the UK to pursue your dream job or for further studies, then you are about to get introduced to a very unique facet of the English culture — Pancake Tuesday. In the UK, Pancake Tuesday, was a nickname given to Shrove Tuesday which falls on the 25 th Day of February in 2020. It is an exciting day when you see both men and women flipping pancakes and trying to make it to the finishing line amid cheers from a vivacious crowd.
This event is usually organized between 11 AM and 2 PM by most local churches, but there are also others who organize it in a more flexible manner. Now if that has caught your attention and you wish to participate in one of them, then you definitely should, and we’ll help you get started. However, before we line up some of the most exciting pancake races in 2020, let us understand the significance of this day and get to know the mysterious legend of Pancake Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday.
What is Pancake Tuesday?
Pancake Tuesday is a 500-year-old tradition in the UK, celebrated on Shrove Tuesday, which is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. This is the day when people are shriven after confession, after which they begin the lent fast, devoid of their sins. However, traditionally, the confessions begin only when the Bell Ringer receives his due — a pancake. Wondering why a pancake? Well, there are many reasons for this delicious demand, and we shall explore them, one at a time.
In the UK, pancakes are prepared on special occasions, and what can be more special than the last sin just before the confessions begin? As most devout Christians would commence their 40-days of abstinence from meat and egg during Lent isn’t it the perfect day for the last sin — a delectable pancake.
Also, back in the good old days, it was a great way to consume all the forbidden groceries before Lent. Devout and religious Christians also believe in the symbolic significance of all the ingredients used in making pancakes. They believe that egg signifies creation, flour is indicative of staff of life, milk stands for purity, and salt symbolizes wholesomeness.
Legend of Pancake Tuesday
Back in the year 1445, a housewife in Olney, Buckinghamshire was busy frying pancakes just until she heard the Church bell ring and knew that it was time to make confessions. In her hurry to attend the service, she ran all the way to the Church, still wearing her apron and tossing the pancake. Ever since, pancake races have been held across several countries, but are most popular in the UK. In traditional English villages, women were expected to wake up early on Shrove Tuesday and make pancakes. The woman who woke up last would have to put up with being teased as the lazy one, while the women ate their pancakes together.
List of UK’s Pancake Races in 2020
Now that we are done with the legend and the significance of Pancake Tuesday, it’s time to grab your apron and start practicing for some of the upcoming pancake races in 2020
Olney Pancake Race 2020
Since the pancake races began in Olney, it is quite a big deal in this region and is a restricted event in which only those from Olney can participate. Also, this is a women-only event, unlike most other present-day pancake races.
Usually, Olney’s pancake race is a 375-meter race in which women need to complete the distance while flipping pancakes in their frying pans. The one who makes it first to the finishing line without dropping the pancake wins. This winner gets to give the pancake to the Church Bell Ringer and receive a kiss.
Greenwich Market Pancake Race 2020
Greenwich Market is all set to host its annual pancake race from 22 nd February to 25 th February 2020. If you can get there all dressed up in a costume, you may even get to gobble up a free pancake. For seven years, Greenwich Market has been hosting this annual event and this year participants may not even have to carry their pans. All you need to do is register yourself here for free, but that’s only if you wish to participate in the Greenwich Market Pancake race in 2020.
For those who wish to watch the fun, there’s no need to register. While you are all set to have some fun, don’t forget to do your bit and contribute to the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice. You’ll find a bucket close to the pancake racetrack, and if you don’t, make sure to ask the organizers and they’ll guide you.
Peterborough Cathedral Pancake Race 2020
If you are looking for some team fun, then head straight to the Cathedral in Peterborough. This pancake race allows teams of four to participate in the race, and you would have to register in advance. Every team would be required to pay £20 to participate in this pancake race, which takes place at the cathedral grounds. So, get your team, frying pans, apron and running shoes ready to do your best and grab the Winner’s trophy.
St Alban’s Pancake Race 2020
Besides displaying artistic collections depicting Roman heritage, this pancake race also remains as traditional as possible. This pancake race is held only on Shrove Tuesday, which is 25 th February 2020 between 11:30 AM and 2:00 PM. It requires participants to register in advance or to be present by 11:00 AM on Shrove Tuesday to register at the registration tent.
As you prepare yourself for the Pancake Tuesday races, and to be Shriven before Ash Wednesday, don’t forget your obligation towards the lesser fortunate. Even if it is a few pounds that you wish to donate, sending them overseas to the lesser privileged can brighten up their day. To help you do your bit, Small World offers you a low transaction fee on all donations made on Pancake Tuesday and throughout Lent.