（Contributed by Karl)
In the United Kingdom, Ireland and parts of the Commonwealth, Shrove Tuesday is also known as “Pancake Day” as it is a common custom to eat pancakes as a meal. Elsewhere, the day has also been called “Fat Tuesday” or “Mardi Gras”.
Shrove Tuesday (also known in Commonwealth countries as Pancake Tuesday or Pancake day) is the day in February or March immediately preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes. In others, especially those where it is called Mardi Gras or some translation thereof, this is a carnival day, and also the last day of “fat eating” or “gorging” before the fasting period of Lent.
Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent.
On Pancake Day, “pancake races” are held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom. The tradition is said to have originated in 1445 when a housewife from Olney, Buckinghamshire, was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake, tossing it to prevent it from burning.
The pancake race remains a relatively common festive tradition in the UK, especially England. Participants with frying pans race through the streets tossing pancakes into the air and catching them in the pan while running. The pancake race at Olney traditionally has women contestants who carry a frying pan and race over a 415-yard course to the finishing line. The rules are strict ,contestants must toss the pancake at the start and the finish, and wear a scarf and apron.