Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) is the feast day of Saint Shrove of Dagenham, as celebrated in the United Kingdom.
Shrove Tuesday is a 'moveable feast' which means that you can have your pancakes anytime the week before or after, as the date on St Shrove's death certificate is a bit smudged, and you can't tell whether it's 28th, 18th, or 78th February.
St. Shrove was a Health & Safety consultant engaged in AD79 by Emperor Claudius to undertake a risk assessment on the Watling Street (Thurrock by-pass) project. Saint Shrove refused to issue a safety certificate until the Centurions carrying out the work replaced their roman sandals with approved safety footwear. During an argument with a squad of hodiieri (hod carriers), he was duffed-up, left unconscious on the roadway, and was run-over by a road-roller made out of a big boulder pulled by a triceratops.
St Shrove survived being flattened, and used his 20 thousand denarii compensation to open a bakery in Dagenham High Street specialising in low-height unleavened circular fried snacks. His survival was declared a miracle by Pope Firstus the Original in AD80, and St Shrove was cannonised at a ceremony at Dagenham Town Hall.
St Shrove became associated with miracles relating to flat things, and was adopted as the Patron Saint of Pancakes, The Netherlands, pool tables, and plasterboard.
The tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday began in 1969 as a marketing campaign by Findus to promote their 'Findus Crispy Pancake' brand, a savoury food modelled on a carpet slipper. The campaign was unsuccessful due to the utterly bland taste and horrible texture. Three flavours were available at launch; 'plain', 'normal', and 'warm water', and purchasers soon discovered that the cardboard packaging was more flavourful and nourishing than the product itself, so it became the tradition to eat beer-mats, expired ration books and cereal packets on Shrove Tuesday. Suddenly, in 1977, cardboard was in short supply because of the three-day-week and oil crisis, so flour, water and eggs were used to make a kind of unconvincing floppy faux-cardboard disc as a substitute. Lemon juice and sugar were often added as a makeshift 'hardener' in the mistaken belief that it would help the batter set. Hence the modern pancake was born.