Pancake Day

PancakesThis year's Shrove Tuesday falls on February 24th and whether you're preparing for Lent or if you're simply a pancake fan, it's time to get out your frying pans and get flipping! Here are some of the top searches about Pancake Day.

The most important thing, of course, is to know how to make your pancakes. You can buy pancake batter and even ready-made pancakes but it's just as easy to make your own batter, search for some easy pancake recipes now! Then comes the fun part, deciding what to have on your pancakes. The classic filling is lemon juice and caster sugar sprinkled on the pancake and then rolled up - delicious! Other ideas include fruit, syrup, chocolate and cream. Try searching for more pancake toppings. Of course, if you prefer not to do the cooking but just sit back and enjoy the eating, there are lots of pancake restaurants where you can buy all sorts of exciting dishes - as long as they include pancakes.

You can't cook a pancake without tossing it as that's part of the fun. Did you know the world record for pancake tossing is 416 times, in 2 minutes? And that celebrity chef Aldo Zilli holds the world record for the highest pancake toss at 329cm?

For years people have been taking part in pancake races; the first recorded pancake race was in Olney, Buckinghamshire in 1445. A pancake fan once ran a marathon while tossing a pancake for 3 hours, 2 minutes and 27 seconds! There is even a Parliamentary Pancake race held between the Houses of Parliament and the media.

Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent leads up to Easter and is a time of fasting. On Shrove Tuesday Christians went to confession and were "shriven" (absolved from their sins). They would use up eggs and fats in pancakes before the Lenten fast began.

Shrove Tuesday is celebrated around the world, and often known by the French name Mardi Gras, meaning fat Tuesday. One of the most famous Mardi Gras festivals is held in New Orleans, USA. The celebrations there take the form of a huge carnival involving parades, floats, balls, costumes and masks. Another hugely famous Mardi Gras celebration takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 'carnaval' consists of extravagant and exotic dance parades led by different samba schools, which attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Pancakes are eaten in other countries but there are many variations on the humble pancake, for example the French crêpe, which is thin and crispy and heated in a sauce. Russian blinis are served with caviar and sour cream. Mexico has its tortilla served with a bean or meat filling. American pancakes are thicker and are usually served with syrup.

Other countries also have their own unique traditions. During the Russian Maslenitsa, group fistfights take place to commemorate Russian military history. In Greece they celebrate Tsiknopempti, 'burnt Thursday', when they grill meat before fasting. And in Slovenia, people celebrate Kurentovanje by ringing bells attached to their hips and eating doughnuts.

Leave a comment and tell us your favourite pancake toppings.

Top Ten pancake toppings:
  1. Lemon and sugar
  2. Maple syrup
  3. Chocolate spread
  4. Bananas and honey
  5. Jam
  6. Ice cream
  7. Strawberries and cream
  8. Blueberries and syrup
  9. Ham and cheese
  10. Peanut butter
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