National Pancake Day, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday, is a tradition celebrated by Catholics throughout Europe and English-speaking countries around the world. Every year, this tradition falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent, the season of fasting. In most countries with sizable Catholic populations, Pancake Day is held to consume foods that contain ingredients such as sugars, fats, and eggs, which cannot be eaten during Lent. Enjoying a final feast of pancakes before Lent is a way to not waste certain ingredients because, by the end of Lent, these ingredients would have since spoiled.
The International House of Pancakes, or IHOP, is a chain of restaurants that sells breakfast foods. They are most famous for their short stack pancakes. Beginning in March 2006, IHOP commemorated National Pancake Day in its own way by giving away free short stacks, while asking in return that costumers leave a small donation to contribute to a local charity. Each year, they raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities. So far, $5.3 million have been raised for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Last year, over $2.1 million was raised. Their goal is to raise $2.3 million this year. Since the beginning of National Pancake Day at IHOP, 10.1 million buttermilk pancakes have been given away.
On Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 starting at 7AM and ending at 10PM, IHOP will be giving away free pancakes. Make sure to head there early!
IHOP‘s National Pancake Day takes place on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. Get there early for your free short stack of pancakes!