Pancake Day in New Zealand

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and is observed in many Christian countries, including New Zealand. What makes New Zealand different is that they celebrate by having a pancake race. Pancake Day started around A.D. 600, when Pope St. Gregory prohibited Christians from eating meat during Lent. So, Christians made pancakes to use up their supply of eggs, milk and butter in preparation for Lent. Not satisfied to simply eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, some enter into the time honored tradition of the pancake race. Generally, it is a relay race between teams, with each team equipped with a frying pan with a pancake in it. Each team member runs the length of a track, flipping the pancake along the way, then handing the pan to their teammate when they reach the end. The second team member then runs back along the same track, flipping the pancake as well, and this is repeated two, four, six or however many times depending on the size of the team. The rules can differ, depending on the race, with the key bone of contention being how many times the pancake must be flipped. Some races will only insist on one flip per length of the track, while others will set out flipping points along the way at which you must flip your pancake. Other pancake rules specify that courteous behavior must be strictly observed at all times, frying pans must not be used as weapons, any surplus of eggs or flour must not be propelled in the direction of other teams, and the organizers reserve the right to eject unruly participants.