Get Ready for Pancake Day

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School children from Olney participating in the pancake race, image by robinmyerscough

Everybody’s favourite international holiday is right around the corner, perhaps because it involves eating mass amounts of food. Known to everyone as Pancake Day, it’s the one day of the year when you’re allowed to eat breakfast foods all day without anybody batting an eyelash. It’s the gluttony without the judgement!

Pancake Day is celebrated this year on February 21st, and is always set to the day before Lent begins. The consumption of many of the ingredients, like flour, butter and eggs, were traditionally restricted during the fast, so in many ways it can be seen as that last hurrah for people who observe the fasting associated with Lent. And for the rest of us, it’s just another excuse to stuff our faces with Pancakes. But in case anyone is concerned about gaining weight during this Holiday, you have nothing to worry about! You just need to make a quick visit to Liberal, Kansas for the International Pancake Day Race. The competitors race along a course while holding a frying pan and flipping a pancake in the air. And if that’s too much of a journey for you, then there’s always the pancake race in Olney, Buckinghamshire. Held since 1445, the winner must successfully flip the pancake a certain number of times before reaching the finish line. For the men who are eager to participate, the male competitors get the additional bonus of dressing in drag as traditional housewives! I can already imagine the swarms of men dropping everything to travel to Olney as soon as they read this.

And if Pancake racing isn’t your thing, Pancake Tuesday was also a day that communities would get together to play football. Though the practice of playing football on Pancake Day mostly died out in the 19th century, several towns in Northumberland and Derbyshire still maintain the tradition. And in Scarborough, it’s a day where the community used to join together to skip rope using long chains from the nearby harbour. In all seriousness though, International Pancake Day isn’t about football, or skipping rope, or racing competitions where you are forced to dress up as the opposite gender. It’s about Pancakes! Whether you love chocolate chip or blueberry, banana or strawberry, (don’t even get me started) this holiday is all about pigging out. And for the lazy ones among us, the beauty of Pancake mix is all the more apparent on this holiday. So whether you’re a cook-it-from-scratch kind of celebrator, or more of the type who wants to save the hassle and eat out, Pancake day has something to offer all of us. So let’s get eating!

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