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Can you flip a pancake?

The term "Shrove Tuesday" comes from the word "shrive," meaning "absolve." Shrove Tuesday is of course the day preceding Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Traditionally it's the day when Christians eat the fatty foods in the house before they fast for the 40 days of Lent. These days we might give up chocolate or something for Lent, but we don't tend to fast - and so Shrove Tuesday is more widely known as pancake day these days - the day when we all eat pancakes with brilliant toppings ... but also the day when we take part in pancake day races which take place all over the UK.

The tradition of pancake races is said to have begun in the 15th century when a Buckinghamshire housewife was so busy making pancakes that she lost track of time until she heard the church bell ringing for the start of the traditional service. She is said to have raced out of the house for church, still carrying her frying pan and tossing the pancake so that it didn't burn. And so these days, we all line up with our frying pans - and usually fancy dress too - and race around our towns and parks while flipping pancakes!

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