Pancake Day is a favorite of children in the UK,Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It is onthisday they get to eat as many pancakes as theywant – all smothered with syrup, or lemon andsugar, or strawberry sauce. It is also called ShroveTuesday. This is a religious holiday on the day beforeAsh Wednesday, the start of Lent. During the 40days of Lent, people used to fast and eat only thesimplest of food. Things like eggs, milk and sugar had to be thrown away. Instead of wastingfood, people traditionally used these ingredients to make pancakes. It became a minicelebration and people topped their pancakes with delicious things they could not eat foranother 40 days. Few people nowadays fast for 40 days.
Shrove Tuesday and Pancake Day are not so well known in the United States. Americans aremore familiar with Mardi Gras, which is also on the day before Ash Wednesday and is a verysimilar celebration. Different countries hold different events for Pancake Day. In England, sometowns have pancake races. People must runa race with a frying pan and toss the pancakes asthey run. The winner is the first person to cross the finishing line with a pancake that is stillintact. Children like to have a go at tossing the hot pancakes out of the frying pan in theirkitchens. In Newfoundland, Canada, the cook puts a ring or a coin in the pancakes. The personwho finds the coin will be rich and the person who finds the ring will be the next to get married.