With Shrove Tuesday just around the corner, we will soon be wildly whisking the eggs, pouring in the flour and milk, turning up the heat and famously flipping pancakes to our heart’s content. But what will everyone else be getting up to? Here is a look at some of the ways in which others from around the globe will be celebrating this yummy day.
In Denmark, Fastelavn is commemorated on the last Sunday before lent in which tons of Danish-style buns are gobbled up. These buns have their middle removed so that whipped cream and jam can be generously squeezed inside instead. Whether they are cats, dogs, monsters or princesses, Danish children get dressed up into a variety of costumes and play games throughout the day. The most common one involves taking a bat and bashing a sweet-filled barrel in order to reach the sugary goodies that lie within. Those who manage to collect the most sweets will be crowned Cat King and Cat Queen.
Known as Sledziowka in Polish, this is Poland’s version of Shrove Tuesday. In complete contrast to what us Brits are used to, this day sees the consumption of great quantities of herring cooked in a variety of ways. If that wasn’t enough, Fat Tuesday is also celebrated in Poland – a day which leaves celebrators utterly stuffed, motionless and incapable of digesting another morsel of cake. Yes, this is a day in which thousands of doughnuts and other sweet treats are relentlessly consumed before the arrival of Lent. This is without doubt one of the busiest times of the year for Polish bakeries, often opening in the early hours of the morning just to keep up with demand throughout the day.
Now, let’s drool over the deliciously famous crêpes of our French neighbours. The main pancake-eating day in France takes place on 2nd February every year and is called La Chandaleur. A lot of superstition surrounds this day and it is thought that preparing pancakes will guarantee the arrival of good crops and wealth for the coming year. In fact, legend has it that, if you flip a pancake in one hand at the same time as holding a golden coin in the other, you will be rewarded financially.
Although situated on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the people of Canada celebrate Shrove Tuesday in a very similar way to us. However, their pancake toppings vary slightly from our own, including marvellously sweet maple syrup, jelly-like jam and even sizzling sausages. Items may also be placed in the batter mix in order to tell the future fortunes of family members. Finding a coin in your pancake symbolises good luck, whereas spotting an item for a certain trade means that you are likely to enter into that trade.
Spaniards celebrate Jueves Lardero, which falls on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. Although this has many different variations depending on the Spanish region, what they all seem to have in common is the tradition of clearing the pantry of any meat and bread. This food will then be used to prepare a large meal (typically an omelette) which will be shared with and eaten by the whole community. It is not uncommon for school children to be let out of school early on this day. They will then go knocking on their neighbours’ doors asking for eggs and chorizo. This food is gathered together and contributed towards the large meal which is usually consumed in the local town plaza.
Pancake-day celebrations come in many forms in Latin America, but Rio de Janeiro’s carnival must be the most famous of them all. Likewise, smaller events also take place in countries such as Mexico and Argentina. Throughout South America, Fat Tuesday usually involves the consumption of King Cake; a sweet brioche-like pastry drizzled in icing.
Images: TheSpruceEats, Food52, Newstalk, Gonola, ImmaculateBites,