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For more inspiration, see our ultimate collection of pancake recipes and Pancake Day ideas.

Learn more about Shrove Tuesday with History Extra.

When is Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday is a Christian holiday, falling the day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

The exact date of Shrove Tuesday changes from year to year but is always 47 days before Easter Sunday. The date typically falls between 3 February and 9 March.

Shrove Tuesday is on 21 February, 2023.

What is Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday is a feast day to celebrate indulgence before a period of fasting during the Christian season of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter Sunday.

Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Canada.

In French-speaking countries, the day is known as Mardi Gras or ‘Fat Tuesday’. Mardi Gras is celebrated with carnival-style street parties featuring live bands and parades, such as in New Orleans, Venice and Rio.

What is the meaning of Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove comes from the word ‘shrive’, which means to confess and do penance for one’s sins.

Shrove Tuesday is the day when Christians start to prepare themselves for the penance of Lent, which begins on the following day, Ash Wednesday.


Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday provides an opportunity to use up eggs and fats before Lent – during which eggs, fats, dairy and meat were traditionally given up – making pancakes a great recipe choice.

The earliest known English recipe dates from the 15th century, although pancakes had been eaten in other countries for centuries before that.

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