FOOD lovers are eager to know when this year's Shrove Tuesday is – also knows as Pancake Day.
But why do people eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and how is the date decided every year?
Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?
Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras is a Christian festival that marks the beginning of Lent, a period of fasting that is meant to remind us of Jesus' time he was tempted by the devil in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights before his death.
Traditionally, pancakes are eaten on this day, to use up goods such as sugar, fats and eggs before Lent begins.
Shrove Tuesday dates as far back as 1000 AD.
In the Middle Ages, the day was knows as Shrovetide, a day when people would visit a priest to confess to all of their sins, then be shriven and told what they had to do to make up for it.
Shrove Tuesday is meant as one last celebration before the sombre period of Lent, and would often be marked by ringing bells and having a feast.
The following day, Ash Wednesday, is when Christians get "repentance ashes" in a cross on their foreheads, marking the start of 40 days of fasting.
What does Shrove mean?
Shrove comes from the old English word "shrive", which means "to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and doing penance."
The day always falls on a Tuesday because of the period of time it marks between the start of Lent and Easter.
Then Ash Wednesday comes along the following day marking the start of fasting during Lent.
This fasting ordeal culminates in Easter, with Easter Sunday this year falling on April 12.
Shrove Tuesday is called Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in French-speaking places, which refers to events of the Carnival celebration, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday.
How is Pancake Day date decided?
The date of Pancake Day changes every year depending on when Easter falls.
The day is celebrated exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday.
Therefore the date can vary from as early as February 3 to as late as March 9.
In 2022, you need to make sure you have your ingredients ready in time for March 1.
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