Pancake Day 煎饼节
华中师范大学外国语学院 张紫轩 编译
English people are really pancake fans. According to statistics1 from BBC， the online recipe about pancake with sugar and lemon can easily win the highest click-through rates2. They cook it， eat it and even celebrate “Pancake Day” every year. That special event falls on the Tuesday before Lent3， varying from year to year between February 3 and March 9. On that day， its traditional to eat pancakes， toss4 pancakes and take part in pancake races.
This interesting origin of eating pancakes had something to do with the customs of Lent. During that period of 40 days， eggs， sugar and butter were not allowed. So Tuesday， the final day before the beginning of Lent， will be peoples last chance to use up all the foods forbidden by Lent. Smart English people began to make a thin， flat cake by using the above ingredients5 like eggs and butter. And thats what we call “pancake” today， which is different from the salty Chinese one. Its usually sweet with a little fresh lemon juice added over the top.
English people make pancakes to eat， and more interestingly， to exercise their arms and legs. Taking part in an exciting pancake race is a must on that day. The goal of the race is to run to the finishing line first while flipping6 a pancake in a frying pan for a certain number of times. If the runner wants to get the first place， he or she should pay more attention in flipping and catching the pancake rather than running， because the pancake must remain complete when the finishing line is reached.
This game is held all over England， but the most famous race takes place in Olney. In Olney， runners have to be local housewives and they must wear an apron7 and a hat or scarf. Each of them has a frying pan with a hot， cooking pancake. She must toss it three times during the race. The first woman to reach the finishing line is the winner.
Over time， eating pancakes and holding pancake races on “Pancake Day” is now a happy festival when people enjoy fine pancakes and share joyful moments together.