Learn an English tradition – Pancake Day!


Everyone knows that this weekend we have had the carnival in Madrid. People all over Ciudad Lineal could be seen dressing up, wearing masks, makeup, on their way to the main parade in Madrid.

Well, this week there is also a traditional English celebration, one that probably you don’t know…Pancake Day! This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, where traditionally Christian people will ¨give something up” e.g. chocolate, for the 40 days before Easter. So, the day before, we have Shrove Tuesday, or, Pancake Day. The tradition comes from people using up all the food in their cupboards before starting Lent. Pancakes are made from just eggs, flour and milk, can be sweet or savoury and can contain… anything really. Chocolate? Yes! Ham and cheese? Yes! Vegetables? Yes! (if you really want to be healthy…) But my favourite is the classic pancake with only lemon juice and a bit of sugar.

So..how do you make a pancake?

It’s really easy, all you need is milk, flour, eggs and a bit of salt.

There is a good recipe to learn to make English pancakes below. (note; English pancakes are not the same as American ones!)


What can you do with pancakes?

Flip them – An important part of the English tradition is to flip them or “toss” them. You hold up the frying pan, throw them up in the air and try and catch them again – more dificult than you imagine! I have never been able to learn how to do it!


Roll them – Add whatever topping you like, (sugar, lemon, ham, cheese etc.)and then roll them up, like this…


Race with them – yes, this is actually true. An English tradition we have had for 500 years, is to have a pancake race on Shrove Tuesday. People have their frying pans, with a pancake, and race with them, sometimes flipping the pancakes while running. You can take a look at a video of it here. Can you imagine a pancake race in La Elipa or San Blas?


(By the way, watching short videoclips like this is a great way to improve your English! Try it!)

But let’s be honest – the best thing…is eating them!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Ahhh as an English teacher in Madrid, I do miss our traditions sometimes!