USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘pancakes’
Customs
Foodways
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Shrove Day

Context

Coming from my Jewish background, I had minimal knowledge of Christian holidays besides Christmas. My informant taught me about Shrove Tuesday and the special treat associated with it.

Main Piece

So, Shrove Tuesday — S-H-R-O-V-E Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Day, is a religious holiday celebrated in the United Kingdom, mostly by Christians, um, but sometimes Catholics, Lutherans, etcetera etcetera. Um, basically, it’s, it’s before Lent, so it’s, it’s a holiday of self-reflection and, uh, y’know, like Thanksgiving, I guess. But basically, the whole country goes nuts, they make these pancakes, which are more like crepes, with the traditional toppings of lemon and sugar. You would drizzle, uh, lemon juice on top and then dust it with sugar, and then you would wrap it up and eat it. It’s actually really f__king good. But basically at school, every Shrove Tuesday we would get… it was like, an exciting day because you could eat something sweet that didn’t taste like wet cardboard. So that was just a fun thing that we’d all get very excited for… of course, it being school lunch it wasn’t really that yummy, anyway… but that was just a fun thing to look forward to in the school year.

shrove-tuesday-uk

 

Notes

While I had not heard of Shrove Tuesday, the interesting thing to me about this piece, as with the Guy Fawkes Day entry, was how removed the informant’s celebration of the holiday is from its origin and meaning. My informant does not come from a religious background, but looked forward to Shrove Tuesday solely because of its association with pancakes — the day was even known by the alternate name “Pancake Tuesday.” To him, the holiday had little to do with Christianity. Worldwide, particularly in the United States, Christmas has become secularized and fairly non-denominational. I would be interested to know how many children who grow up participating in festive, secular versions of these holidays end up continuing to practice the religion.

Annotation

Godlewski, Nina. “What Is the Meaning of Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday?” Newsweek, Newsweek, 5 Mar. 2019, www.newsweek.com/fat-shrove-tuesday-what-meaning-tradition-1351332.

Customs
Festival
Foodways
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Canadian Pancake Breakfasts

*Note: the informant, Kate, grew up in Canada, Alberta specifically.

INFORMANT: “Well, in Canada we do a lot of pancake breakfasts, I’m not sure if this qualifies as folklore per se, but every time there’s a festival in the summertime, people cook up a ton of pancakes, and I mean a lot of pancakes, and they give them away for free! Or sometimes they charge a small fee to raise money for something. In Edmonton specifically, where I grew up, pancake breakfasts were huge, especially on K-days, which is a giant exhibition for 10 days in the end of July. Also in Edmonton we had the Calgary Stampede, Canada’s biggest rodeo, and pancakes were a huge thing there. Because in like the 20s or something, when the rodeo first began, some rancher started cooking up free pancakes on his camp stove and giving them away to whoever came by the festivities. Pancake breakfasts are even tied to politics, a lot of Canadian politicians will hold pancake breakfasts or make appearances or even be the volunteers making the pancakes. Also football. Lots of pancake breakfasts for football events.”

This is a food-related tradition that seems pretty specific to Canada, even though America has started doing similar pancake breakfasts as fundraisers. The concept of free pancakes is great, as everyone knows free food is extremely bonding. I think it’s interesting that politicians are capitalizing on this tradition and making it political, using pancake breakfasts as public events at which to make appearances or make themselves seem approachable or folksy by cooking pancakes.

Customs
Festival
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Maslenitsa

“Maslenitsa is basically like a pre-fast to Lent, where you just…you give up meat that week, dairy…so it’s meant to work you off of it. Blini are sweet, so you’re not so depressed, uh…that’s…that’s my take on it. Then you just don’t eat meat or fish or dairy for forty days. Not just Wednesday, Friday–every day.”

Most Christian cultures have their own version of the famous Brazilian Carnival, the blowing off of steam before the fasting that comes with Lent. In Russian Orthodox culture, it is called Maslenitsa. During the week-long holiday, the faithful partake in a pre-fast, as noted by my informant. They give up meat and dairy in preparation for the intense fasting of Lent. In addition, the celebration of Maslenitsa originated in Slavic mythology and was a celebration of the end of winter. Because it still persists to this day, we can see how pagan rituals have been absorbed into Christian holidays. Obviously, this is common across cultures; however, it is especially obvious in this Russian holiday because of the pagan folk elements such as bonfires and the burning of effigies.

Blini, essentially the Russian version of crepes, are the most popular food during this time. They are a traditional Russian dish and are wildly popular; as my informant notes, the fact that blini are everywhere during the week leading up to the Lenten fast makes it easier on everyone.

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