Pre-Lent 'Pancake Tuesday' Celebrated At National Cathedral | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Pre-Lent 'Pancake Tuesday' Celebrated At National Cathedral

Charlie Savin, 8, was the winner of the "golden skillet."

For those who celebrate Mardi Gras, today marks Fat Tuesday. Among many Christian denominations the day before Lent is also known as Shrove or Pancake Tuesday. To celebrate, many gathered at the National Cathedral for a racy event.

It's called the pancake race and the idea is simple: participants race to the finish line holding a skillet containing a pancake. The event celebrates Shrove Tuesday, which according to Anglican tradition is when the faithful among us consume all the rich foods in the house such as butter, sugar, eggs, and milk in preparation for Lent.

There's probably no better way to do that then to make pancakes. But why race with them? Cannon Andrew Cullinger of the National Cathedral explains.

"The legend is that back in 1445, in Olney in England there was a housewife who was cooking up her pancakes.The church bells rang at noontime and she realized she was late for services, so she grabbed her skillet off the stove and ran through the town to get to church on time," Cullinger says. "And so the notion of racing with pancakes has been done since then."

The race was staged down the center aisle of the cathedral. Today's winner was 8-year old Charlie Savin.

"I'm really surprised. I thought he was going to win," Savin said, referring to his friend Joshua Allyne.

The winner receives the coveted golden skillet.

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