For 500 years, teams across England have been flipping pancakes in a 4-person team relay race on Shrove Tuesday.
As legend has it, the annual competition began when a harried housewife heard the church bells while making pancakes, and ran all the way to the church flipping her pancake the entire way.
First run in 1445, the race honors UK culture by launching day-before-Lent celebrations. These races are a nod back to England’s rich cultural and community traditions, and teams get into the spirit with sometimes bawdy costumes and hilarious makeup.
The rules are simple.
- No whacking opponents with the pancake pan.
- The pancake must be flipped three times, at least two feet in the air, during the runner’s course of the relay.
- Traditional “housewife” costumes must be worn, including an apron, head covering and skirt.
- And no flagrant “pancake foolery” by holding onto the pancake while running!
Representing the Thames Valley Women’s Club, the “Hotcake Hotties” and “Those Flippin’ Americans” did their home country proud in this year’s Flipping Windsor and Eton Pancake Challenge. Everyone finished the race, nobody embarrassed themselves too badly, and we all had a good laugh in the end.
Since the race was run to support local charities, our efforts were all in a good day’s fun.