Pancake day is celebrated in the UK (and in other, largely former colonial, countries) every spring. The date varies because of Jesus. He was a big fan of pancakes I think, so he got to decide when the day would be. This was ironic because some scholars believe that shortly after he rose from the dead and rolled away the stone of his tomb, it rolled back on him, flattening him like a pancake.
The tradition is based in Britain’s wonderful theatrical heritage when actors and actresses would put on excessive amounts of facepaint (or pancake) and act out scenes from Jesus’s life. These farcical performances would often result in the throwing of eggs and flour and it was from these ingredients that the artistes began to make the signature dish of pancake day, Yorkshire Pudding.
Americans wanted in on a celebration based around the eating of high-carb foods but needed to distance themselves from the traditions of the English, so they simply called the day “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras. Sadly in some areas a typographical error in early calendars meant that instead of the day being marked for one Tuesday, it was actually marked for every day except one Tuesday, explaining the rampant and morbid obesity.
Today, in the best traditions of the religious festival that started it all, Pancake Day is widely celebrated by giving women strings of beads in exchange for them baring their breasts. This crucifixion symbolism is reinforced by the shouting of “Woo Hoo”, believed to be the last words of Christ on the cross.
Pancake Day 2013 is on the 12th of February.
Update : this important information brought to you via the wonderful people at The Poke