Friday, February 20, 2009

Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) - get your pans, aprons and running shoes ready!

Pancake+Day+LondonPicture yourself with a pancake. Don't ask, just do it.

Now, picture yourself holding that pancake in a pan. Start flipping it. Did I tell you not to ask questions? Right, where were we? Oh, flipping pancakes.

While flipping a pancake in a pan, start running. Now, picture many people doing the same thing around you and racing towards the finish line. And yes, while flipping the pancake.

Welcome to Shrove Tuesday (otherwise known as Pancake Day), a festival celebrated by many Christians around the world. While the rest of the world feast on pancakes, Britons race with theirs.

The story goes that a housewife was making pancakes and forgot all about attending church services. Upon hearing the toiling of church bells, she panicked and made a dash towards the church - while wearing her apron and holding a pan with the pancake still piping hot. The rest was history.
RedBull Air Race - the London leg

Busking for a living in London
Apparently, the Pancake Race has been held all over Britain since mid 15th century. From local races in small villages to well organized events in London, people will leave their workplace during lunchtime and congregate in designated areas on Shrove Tuesday.

Pancake+DayContestants, who are normally selected after a few bouts of heats (did I mentioned that it is an organized event) conducted a couple of days before, don their aprons, do some warm up exercises, pick up a pan and make a mad dash towards the finishing line while flipping that pancake.

Winning criteria is all too simple - complete the race at the shortest possible time while flipping the pancake for a minimum number of times and keeping it intact towards the end. There! It's just that simple.

This coming Tuesday (24th Feb), lunch will be more fun with crowds gathering along the streets in anticipation. Will definitely be writing about it provided I get some half decent pictures with my trusty phone. Watch this space.

Author's Update: Post on Race is up!

Main Pancake Races in the City

The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race
24 Feb at 12.30pm
Teams of four race along a route taking in Dray Walk, Old Truman Brewery and Brick Lane, E1. Bring your team, a frying pan and a fun costume (pancakes will be provided). Prizes for winners, best dressed team and runners up. For more information see the Alternative Arts website:

The Great Pancake Race
24 Feb at 1pm
This well-established race takes place on Tower Hill Terrace, Byward Street, EC3, opposite the Tower of London. Members of the local business community are invited to enter a team and proceeds go to Help the Hospices. Find out more at

The Worshipful Company of Poulters Pancake Race
24 Feb at 11am
This race takes place in Guildhall Yard, in front of the Guildhall. The 20+ teams represent the traditional livery companies (trade guilds) so the competition is intense! Spectators are welcome and there will be pancakes on sale.

The Parliamentary Pancake Race
24 Feb 10.15am
Teams from the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Fourth Estate (the media) line up in Victoria Gardens for a pancake race in support of brain injury charity Rehab UK. Make sure you're there to see if the MPs and Lords can win after last year's defeat by the media.

The above listing is obtained from All in London.

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OrLaNd said...

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lina said...

Fun Fun Fun! :D
Is there a minimum number of flips needed while running in the race or the participants get by just flipping a couple?

redkathy said...

Awesome flipping!

Dutchie said...

Gosh, long time since I heard of Pancake Day ! I hv an old school chum who is Catholic n I learned from her abt the 40 days of fasting (called Lent) b4 Easter. Every country with a christian population has a different name for Lent. In America, fat Tuesday is also known as Mardi Gras.

Why fat tuesday ? Well, in the old days, people gathered their eggs, milk n butter to make a last rich meal b4 fasting commenced. During the fast, they hv to contend with simple foods, usually without any dairy products.

I'm curious if people at present still follow this liturgical event ?

Still, Shrove (asking for absolution) Tuesday in the UK sounds fun to me. Nothing like a communal event to get people out of their homes n be merry - haha ! It certainly did put me in the mood for pancakes !

Btw, carnival begins this friday night in the southern provinces of NL. It lasts 3 days n folks bar-hopped n drink themselves senseless, I heard. There will be floats n street parades n visitors r encouraged to dressed up in funny costumes. This event is linked to Lent as well.

Stefan said...

Hahahaha, that's such a great photo! Flipping awesome.

Buzzing J said...

Wonder what it would be like if it's a Roti Canai Flipping run. Running towards the finish line with both hands busy twisting and stretching the roti, as the finish line is getting nearer the roti is getting bigger and bigger ... Hmmm ...

Dutchie said...

CK, it's been 2 days since I noticed that ur blog is halved - the lower portion (Sg Day) is blank as well as everything in the right column. Or is it just my PC ? No problem with other blogs though.

sixmats said...

I don't even know what I would wear if I were there.

sixmats said...

BTW - The blog looks fine for me with FF3.

C K said...

Hey there, thanks for stopping by. Will check out your site as well.

I would think so. Also, the pancake would have to be intact at the end of the race. That's no easy task. You should ask Raimie to try that at home one day.

Yeah! I just got some pancake mix. Going to flip some myself as well.

Really? Comparatively, Shrove Tuesday seems less celebrated in the UK than in the NL. I certainly have not seen any parades going on then.

Talking about Fat Tuesday, that reminds me of the Muslim equivalent of Hari Raya Puasa.

Yep, it'll be quite a scene in the City with guys still in their work clothes coming down for a race.

@Buzzing J,
HAHA... that image got stuck in my mind the entire day after reading your comment. Roti Canai 'twisting and stretching' indeed!

We should have something like in S'pore and M'sia, shouldn't we? With free prata/canai for all spectators of course. :)

Thanks for the notification. A friend of mine who tried to access my blog from her office's Internet Explorer experienced that same problem as well. I was hoping that it was her office' firewall. Well, apparently not.

Are you still having the same issue? Like Tom (sixmats), I'm using FireFox and the page looks fine to me. I'm not sure why the post just can't show for some.

Hey Tom, thanks for confirming that the post is showing up fine in FF3. Perhaps its an IE issue?

Anyway, there's no official costume/uniform for the race. Participants are fully expected to come in whatever they are wearing for that day. Many come in jackets and ties. It's hilarious seeing those ties flapping around. LOL.

Dutchie said...

CK, it's still the same problem but when I clicked to read the complete post, all is present n correct - lol. I dont know what's the matter but dont worry abt it yeah ?

Words hv an influence on me. The day I read this post, I made a fluffy apple soufflé for my dinner. The dusting of icing sugar n cinnamon made it extra yum :))

C K said...

Oh, are you referring to you having to click on the title to read the entire post? I actually tweaked with the settings and display only the first few paragraphs of each post so as to be able to display more posts on the page.

To read the rest of the entry, you might like to either click on the title or click on the link that says "Continue reading the entire post>>>", which you can find at the end of each summary.

Hmm... icing on pancakes...

xiaocangshu said...

Heard something on radio yesterday about some kids in the US running a similar race...

Vanessa said...

Lol…….really it is very funny. Flipping is great.