Whether you're celebrating with thin crepes or American-style pancakes, learn everything you need to know about Pancake Tuesday.

Stack of blueberry pancakes
| Credit: Dianne

You might be familiar with Shrove Tuesday as the day people pull out all the eggs, milk, and flour they have to whip up pancakes. But what is Shrove Tuesday? And how is it different from Mardi Gras? And what does it have to do with pancakes? You've got questions; we've got answers. Learn everything you need to know about Shrove Tuesday and get top-rated pancake recipes to celebrate with.

What Is Shrove Tuesday?

In the Catholic calendar, the day before Lent is known as Shrove Tuesday. On this day, devout Catholics may attend confession to be "shriven" (absolved) of their sins before beginning the Lenten practice. Today, Shrove Tuesday is primarily observed among Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Methodists.

Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday as it's sometimes known in the British Commonwealth, falls 47 days before Easter. It's followed by Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, in which Christians traditionally fast for 40 days. These 40 days represent the time that Jesus spent fasting in the desert.

Shrove Tuesday vs. Mardi Gras

Shrove Tuesday goes by many names depending on location and tradition. Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") take place on the same day each year - the day before Lent.

Mardi Gras is known as Fat Tuesday because many traditions celebrate the day by eating fatty foods before entering into Lent. Every year, the season begins on the feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the day the Magi (three kings) met the Christ child. In addition to eating, some places celebrate the weeks between the Epiphany and Ash Wednesday with parties and carnivals.

In New Orleans, Mardi Gras parades make their way through the French Quarter with marchers dressed in special costumes and masks. The Mardi Gras season is also celebrated with king cakes. And you're probably familiar with the famous Brazilian Carnival in Rio, where people crowd the streets to sing and dance in celebration.

Although these celebrations can look vastly different depending on where you are in the world, they all mark the start of the Lenten fast.

What Do Pancakes Have to Do With Shrove Tuesday?

So by now you're probably wondering what all this has to do with pancakes. Celebrating Shrove Tuesday with pancakes came about because Irish bakers would make pancakes to use up their stores of eggs, milk, and flour before the start of Lent.

The tradition has spread throughout the British commonwealth, so much so that many know the day just as "Pancake Tuesday." While you can celebrate with whatever type of pancake you want, traditional Shrove Tuesday Pancakes (like this recipe from Allrecipes UK & Ireland) are very thin and almost crepe-like.

Top-Rated Pancake Recipes for Shrove Tuesday

While these might not be traditional Shrove Tuesday pancakes, you can't go wrong with these top-rated recipes. Give one of these a try this Pancake Tuesday.

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes

With over 12,000 glowing reviews, these pancakes will keep you from ever picking up a box mix again. Reviewer naples34102 says, "These were light, fluffy, tender, thick and perfectly rounded pancakes. Quick and easy to mix up too!"

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes stacked and drizzled with syrup
Credit: angela

Banana Pancakes I

Reviewer a_houghtaling says, "Just a tip for fuss free banana mashing...stick them in a zip-lock bag, zip, and squeeze! When you're done cut a corner off and you have a pour spout!"

Banana Pancakes stacked with whipped cream
Credit: OkinawanPrincess

Todd's Famous Blueberry Pancakes

"This is a top of the line blueberry pancake recipe," says reviewer SPETROVICH. "It always comes out perfect--fluffy, yet not cake-like. It's very moist with the blueberries; not a dry pancake at all."

Stack of blueberry pancakes
Credit: Dianne