It's pancake day today so it goes without saying that you'll have enjoyed one (or two) of these delights.

Only, if you did, you might be part of a considerable minority.

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Once-a-year treat ... Sometimes a gal just has to let the boss show her the secrets of making a pancake. Then happily 12 months can pass before the, er, joy need be repeated. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
I deduce that because not one of the many people I've asked if pancakes were on the menu, answered 'yes'.

Surprisingly, too, for what used to be such an English tradition, many admitted they had forgotten that today was the day.

One or two (at least) asked, 'What's pancake day?'

I didn't know

Like many others faced with that question, I suspect, I really had to admit I couldn't say why the day is pancake day.

Nor why it is also called Shrove Tuesday, and nor why tomorrow will be Ash Wednesday.

Thankfully, writer Ellen Castelow has come to the rescue at historic-uk.

She reminds forgetful us who had, well, mislaid the meaning or reason for the popular date, that today is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent tomorrow, Ash Wednesday.

Lent! Oh, yes, I remember that from childhood when I tried to give up favourite tastes - cooking dates from the family pantry, sweets, of course, and chocolates, and once-a-year apples.

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Forgotten temptation ... And perhaps from the waistline's point of view, it might better left forgotten. Photo by Chad Montano on Unsplash
Ellen Castelow reminds us, 'Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were shriven (absolved from their sins).

Giving up giving up

'A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the Pancake Bell and is still rung today.'

She reports that this day always lies just 47 days before Easter Sunday.

Ah, that triggers a memory, too, for that's when we can give up the giving up, for those of us disciplined enough to pursue the fast beyond just a few days.

Why pancakes before Lent?

Ellen explains, 'Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast. Pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients.'

The traditional job is a really thin and flat cake, made of batter and fried in a frying pan. Ellen reports, 'The pancake has a very long history and featured in cookery books as far back as 1439.

'The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old.'

Britain Magazine offers a very early date for the pancake tradition, quoting from 410 years ago, 1619 ...

'And every man and maide doe take their turne,
And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne.'

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory and on Blogger,

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