Indulge with a Clear Conscience on Pancake Day

What Is Pancake Day and Why Do We Celebrate It? 

Pancake Day usually falls in the second half of February or early March, invariably a time of year when the weather is still decidedly wintry. And yet, throughout the country we see stalls in- and outdoors, especially but not exclusively, in front of churches and parish houses, with people diligently giving away warm pancakes to perfect strangers. For free. It's a beautiful tradition, especially for those of us out there who can't say no to pancake, even if we've already had eight of them. But that's neither here nor there, because the question at the core of this whole affair is, why? Why in the world would anyone sit out in the cold dishing out free pancakes to total randoms? Why that Tuesday, and not some other day in the summer, say, when it might be a bit more pleasant to sit outside? And why pancake? Why not spinach, or chicken wings, or chocolate brownies? So many questions.

Luckily, we also have many answers.

Is Pancake Day the Same as Mardi Gras?

Though to the naked eye it might look like Pancake Day is celebrated on a random Tuesday sometime in the winter, in reality the date is much more strict. Admittedly, Pancake Day is a moveable feast but it always comes exactly 40 days and a week (so 47 days) before Easter (itself a moveable feast that falls on the Sunday following the first full moon of the spring). While the exact date changes from year to year, Pancake Day always falls on a Tuesday, and it is, in fact, the final day of Shrovetide. Pancake (Tues)day, then, is the day before the start of Lent, the Christian period of 40 days of fasting and penance leading up to Easter Week, the most significant feast in the ecclesiastical calendar.  

If Lent is characterised by abstinence, Shrovetide is its polar opposite, practically a period of preparation for the upcoming want, which is therefore filled with abundance and abandon. In northern European countries such as Germany or the Netherlands, Shrovetide begins on the 11th of November, 40 days before the winter solstice, though a more common starting point for it is Epiphany, the 6 January. The period between Epiphany and Pancake Tuesday is one in which, historically, rulers might have shown more leniency, the Church might have turned a blind eye to certain excesses, and the common people would have been able to enjoy an ounce of freedom. 

The end of Shrovetide is celebrated throughout the western world during the weekend leading up to Pancake Tuesday in a days-long party commonly referred to as Carnival. From the beaches of Rio de Janeiro to the streets of Tenerife, Carnival is king among the festivities of the year, and yet they don't give pancakes away in Brazil, nor do they set up stands outdoor in the much more temperate climate of the Canary Islands to feed strangers for free. Shrove Tuesday is a big deal in many places, such as New Orleans, for instance, where Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is the sun around which the rest of the year revolves. Yet, not one pancake is to be seen in New Orleans in Mardi Gras. So why the British fixation with pancakes?

Why Pancakes?

One obvious reason would be, because we're special like that. But there's more to it than that because in the advent of Lent people wanted to have one last good serving of the sort of rich food they'd be forced to give up for the following 40 days. You'll struggle to find richer food than butter, milk, eggs and sugar, the ingredients needed to make a good pancake. 

So, in the end, Pancake Day is just a good excuse to indulge on all the good things of life without the risk of being frowned upon by moralists. Even if the religious sentiment isn't quite what it used to be, this sounds like the perfect setting to indulge, too, in some wanton shopping. Even if you don't plan to give up much for Lent, we recommend you take a look at our suggestions for the best Pancake Day deals below and join us on a little shopping spree for no other reason than because we can afford it, thanks to these irresistible Pancake Day discounts!



The Best Deals for Pancake Day 2020

The end of Shrovetide is nearing and, boy, was there ever a better excuse to treat yourself. At the end of the day, even the Pope has given his blessing, and while it's not like we need it, well, we'll gladly accept it if it's there for the taking. What about making pancakes for Pancake Day? It seems obvious, right? But do you know how to make pancakes for pancake day? Well, luckily there is the Internet these days, where you will find a delicious variety of recipes to choose from. Blueberry pancakes, Vegan pancakes, Gluten-free pancakes, American pancakes, French crepes, and all sorts. So just choose the ones you fancy and when it comes to getting the ingredients, we've got some exceptional food and drink deals for you. 

Perfect for Brunch, Brekkie or Dinner

If you're going to have pancakes for Pancake Day, you need to do this right. Pancakes are great with jam, syrup or marmalade, though they really come to life when you pair them with smoked bacon. In fact, pancakes are the perfect focal point of a nice hearty brunch, sweet enough to allude to breakfast yet filling and rich enough to replace lunch. To make the best pancakes you need to check out our Waitrose offers, they will allow you to get the best ingredients at the best prices. And if you find that you don't have the utensils at home to make your pancakes we've got you covered for that too, because with our Iceland Pancake day discounts you can get the kitchen of a pro at dilettante prices. 

Now, if you're lucky enough to be able to enjoy pancakes for brunch on Shrove Tuesday, then you should also make the most of our Marks & Spencers Pancake day deals to celebrate Pancake Day. Since Shrove Tuesday isn't an official holiday (anymore) in the UK, we're going to assume you're not really in a situation to simply let the good times roll with brunch and Bloody Maries. But you can have your pancakes for breakfast too, and we have a couple of tips to make your brekkie more lavish. Let's start with tea, should we: we have many deals for Whittard of Chelsea which will transform your morning cuppa and make it something suitably smokey for a special occasion. Or, if you want to go all continental, you can claim your Lavazza voucher and throw a fancy coffee right into the bargain.

You could also hold back the temptation of having those pancakes until the end of the day and indulge in a fabulous dinner to reward yourself, ending with all the pancakes you want for dessert. And you know what, we've got your back if that's what you choose to do. Rather than cook all night, claim your Morrisons voucher and get your food to order.  For dinner you might also need to stock up on some extra special delicious goodies, so check out the Mindful Chef offers we have prepared for you and don't let your budget hold you back from celebrating in style. If you'd prefer some beer you should try the mystery boxes at Beer Hawk and pay less with our fantastic Beer Hawk coupons or if you would like to make the table look gorgeous why not order some flowers and choose from our selection of Prestige Flowers discounts so you can get the best bunch! Just don't get too greedy on all that food and drink. We know it's hard when they come with such great discounts, but the point is you still need to leave room for those pancakes, remember?  


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