Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ripon Pancake Race 2014

A fun British tradition is the Pancake Race on Shrove Tuesday, commonly known as Mardi Gras in America. I went to Ripon Cathedral which was hosting an event this year.

The cathedral getting ready

Pancake making before the race

According to the internet,
The event at Ripon has been a regular fixture since the 1990’s when an ancient tradition was revived. It marks Shrove Tuesday, the day of celebration and finishing off the eggs before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a period of fasting and spiritual reflection in the church’s calendar, when traditionally Christians give up certain foods such as meat, eggs and fish.  Lent lasts for 40 days, the period that Jesus Christ fasted in the wilderness at the start of his ministry. 
The cathedral has a Pancake Bell which rings at 11 a.m. to signal the start of the festivities. The bell has tolled on Shrove Tuesday for some 600 years, though for most of the time it was a call to the locals to be "shriven" of their sins in confession (hence the "shrove" in Shrove Tuesday). In 2008 the race wasn't held because of a mountain of health and safety paperwork. The next year public demand was so strong that the obstacles were overcome.

This year, racers included some of the clergy and the local authorities. Children from local school came to participate as well. Some ladies (and a few gents) dressed up in old-fashioned clothes, including white aprons and bonnets, to race down the street. Toward the end, it seemed like individual groups and families came up for a go.

People getting ready to race

Here's a video of the racers in action!

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