Inspired by a blogger who recently contacted me, I’m reprising an old post from 2015. Read on and check out the link to his post about Pancake Day.
Since tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, it seemed like a good idea to do a post about today: Mardi Gras, Carnival, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day. It’s all of those!
Traditional Christians mark Ash Wednesday as the first day of the season of Lent. In past times the faithful fasted for the forty-day period leading up to the celebration of Easter.
The Tuesday before, however is not about fasting or penance. Quite the opposite. The shriving (confessing of sins), if any, comes later!
On the other side of the pond…
I’ve never read a Regency novel where the hero and heroine observe this day. I thought perhaps Carnival/Mardi Gras had disappeared completely in England. After all, the fanatical Oliver Cromwell, banned Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Easter because of their links to Roman Catholic Christianity.
I was thrilled to find that England celebrates this day with pancakes! Since 1445 the town of Olney has hosted a race with apron-wearing housewives flipping pancakes as they run. (Was this suspended during Cromwell’s reign? I don’t know. Do you?) Other communities host somewhat rowdier races like this event in Spitalfields.
Blogger Gerard Paul on manyeats.com offers this great post about Pancake Day (more thorough and with much better images too).
Scarborough hosts rope skipping and Derbyshire a football game. Worldwide however, the day’s observances are mostly rooted in drinking, making merry, and eating. Use up that sugar, meat, and the dairy products that will tempt a penitent to break the great fast!
In my house, it’s Paczki (pronounced pawnch-key). Filled with raspberry or prune, these are like jelly donuts, only better. Sadly, Covid 19 has left us paczki-less for 2021. Unless I do some baking. Hmm…
Imagine one of the lords or ladies who populate our versions of the Regency world running down a public street, frying pans in hand. As we writers like to say, anything is possible with the right motivation!
If you know of any Georgian, Regency, or Victorian fiction that touches on this subject, I would love to hear about it.
Happy Pancake Day! Let me know in the comments how you’re celebrating.
All images: Depositphotos.com and Wikimedia