Other International celebrations

Where is pancake day celebrated?

Alice T Breeze
By Alice T Breeze. Updated: May 1, 2019
Where is pancake day celebrated?

Pancake day is directly related to Shrove Tuesday, which always coincides with the eve of Ash Wednesday in most Christian countries. Tradition says that Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the Lent season, or a 40-day fast, which is the reason why Shrove Tuesday and Pancake day is a day of indulgence for Christians who wanted to follow fast during this period. This tradition has derived differently in many Christian countries around the world and the reason why in some countries, they still celebrate Pancake day.

Actually, Pancake day was a pagan holiday before Christians took it up. It was thought that pancakes symbolized the Sun, and that offering the first pancake to the spirits would help Spring arrive.

If you want to know where and how several countries have kept this pagan celebration alive, keep on reading this article to know where pancake day is celebrated.

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Probably one of the countries where the tradition is most alive is the UK. Pancake day brings several traditions that are still held nowadays. Probably the most well-known is Olney's pancake race, where women run down the streets flipping their pancake in a pan. This 500-year-old tradition is said to have started when a woman was cooking the last of her fats when she heard the church bells ring. She then rushed off to church with her pancake in her pan. In the years after, this became a tradition and a race among women in this village. The race is now held in several villages in England.

Apart from all the pancake making, street football matches are also held in a handful of villages across England. Although this tradition has mainly disappeared, we can still visit Ashbourne, Derbyshire (England); where it is said that football first started and where the old football is still thrown on the street to remember its origins.

Where is pancake day celebrated? - Step 1
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In the US, probably the most renowned pancake day celebration is in the town of Liberal, Kansas; where local women compete with those in Olney (England) for the fastest speed in their pancake race. This tradition first started in 1950, when they contacted Olney's vicar to challenge Olney's women in the pancake race. The prize for the winner is the "Kiss of Peace". This tradition has expanded in a four day event where pancakes are the absolute center of attention.

There are also many Catholics around the US that also celebrate Pancake Day.

Where is pancake day celebrated? - Step 2

Pancake day as such is hardly celebrated in Canada. Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday may be better known in this country, but there are still some areas where Pancake day is still celebrated. For example, in Newfoundland and Cape Breton (New Scotia), cooks place small items in the pancake batter to predict the future of the family such as coins or nails.


More than pancake Day, Ireland celebrates more of a pancake night. Irish follow the most religious side of this tradition, filling up on forbidden foods during Lenten such as eggs and sugar. The most common recipe for pancakes is to fill them with lemon juice and sugar, then rolled and eaten as a dessert.


Pancake day in Austalia also has an extra solidarity component. UnitingCare encourages people to hold fund-raising pancake breakfasts, lunches and dinners for their association, that raises money for the less fortunate.

The most common recipe in Australia for Pancake day is made with ice cream and fruit.


If you'd like to make your own pancakes, here are some OneHowto articles you might be interested in:

If you want to read similar articles to Where is pancake day celebrated?, we recommend you visit our Festivities & Celebrations category.

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Where is pancake day celebrated?