February 13 - International Pancake Day Race

Posted on February 13, 2018

Women in two different nations, racing along the streets of two faraway towns...

Wearing kerchiefs on their heads and aprons tied around their waists...

Carrying a frying pan in one hand and a spatula in the other...

Flipping pancakes as they run!

...And all of this happening while amazing winter athletes from all over the world race each other over snow and ice at the Winter Olympics in South Korea!!

It sounds very unlikely, doesn't it?

But the International Pancake Race between Liberal, Kansas, and Olney, England, has been happening for more than 60 years (although it does not usually coincide with the even-more-international Olympics!!!). 

How does a two-nation pancake-flipping race get started?

Supposedly, way way way WAY back in 1445, more than 500 years ago, a woman was using up all her cooking fats by making pancakes. This was on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, a period of 40 days before Easter during which certain things (like eating fatty and yummy foods like pancakes) were forbidden.

This woman was supposed to have heard the church bells ring, and she had so little time to get to church, she had no time to ditch her skillet or apron as she raced to get to the church.

And the story goes on to say that, in the next few years, the neighbors remembered this comical looking event by racing to church with their own skillets and pancakes and aprons - and so a custom got started.

The Pancake Day Race is so famous, Olney
has it featured on the town sign.

Flash forward more than 500 years, to 1950: someone in the town of Liberal, Kansas, was tickled by photos of the pancake race held annually in Olney. And this someone decided that the people of Liberal should get in on the act. But instead of doing the more normal thing of hosting their own, separate pancake race, the people of Liberal contacted the Olney folks and challenged them to race against each other by comparing times over equal courses.

And so every Shrove Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnival, Pancake Day, or other names, women in the two towns run this unique race - and the time comparisons are made.

So far, the Liberal women are ahead, with 37 wins compared to Olney's 29. (The scores didn't count for two of the races because technical difficulties made the time comparisons unfair.)


Extraterrestrial Culture Day

(Second Tuesday of February)

Discovery of a 500,000-year-old Spark Plug?

Mardi Gras


Kanaval in Haiti

Pancake Day

Plan ahead:

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