Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day): Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Shrove Tuesday (often called Pancake Day in the United Kingdom).

  • Shrove Tuesday is a Christian festival to mark the start of Lent. Lent is a period of about six weeks when Christians are meant to practise abstinence – by giving up luxuries or uneccessary things. Lent ends on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday.

  • Traditionally, Shrove Tuesday is associated with pancakes being eaten. This was the last chance to eat rich foods before Lent, and an opportunity to use up all of the luxury foods (such as fat, butter and eggs – which British pancakes are made of) which might go off during Lent.
  • Although it always falls on a Tuesday, the exact date of Pancake Day changes from year to year. It is always 47 days before Easter Sunday, and this means that it is possible for Pancake Day to be on any day between 3rd February or 9th March.

Shrove Tuesday is celebrated by Christians all over the world, but the festival is known by different names.

  • In the UK, Ireland and Australia the celebration is most often called Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday.
  • In France and the French-speaking and Catholic communities of the United States, they refer to Shrove Tuesday as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday)
  • In Iceland people celebrate Sprengidagur (The Day of Bursting)
  • In Greece it’s called Apocreas (from the meat) as many Greek Christians give up meat during Lent.