Shrove Tuesday: Pączki Day, Bolludagur Day, Pancake Day, Faschnacht Day
In Olney England, a pancake race held on Shrove Tuesday dates from 1445. Legend maintains that when a housewife cooking pancakes heard the church bells summoning her to confession, she ran to church wearing her apron and still holding her frying pan. A Pancake Day race held here and many places around the world require the participants to wear a dress and apron. During the race a contestant is required to flip a pancake three times in the frying pan. A pancake flipped off the pan disqualifies the participant and brings bad luck. Another legend from the early nineteenth century has it that “Napoleon, who liked to make and eat pancakes with Josephine, blamed the failure of his Russian campaign on the one he had dropped years before at Malmaison during Candlemas.”
Ash Wednesday is February 22, 2012, so enjoy your pancakes before then.
Elmer Lewis Smith, et .al. The Pennsylvania Germans of the Shenandoah Valley. 107-8. http://www.pancakepalour.com/