I happened to come across the Spitalfields Pancake Race last Tuesday as I was leaving the office for my lunch break, and the race had not yet begun. I wasn't exactly sure what was going on, but I noticed a few people dressed up and walking into Dray Walk off of Brick Lane. A small crowd started to form, and I watched the event unfold. The race was set up with several people taking part and several others dressed up. Some of the costumes had the 'pancake' theme. Then, the races began! The races were with two or three people racing against each other. The races carried frying pans with pancakes, and the pancakes had to be flipped at two points in the race. The winner of the races received a special engraved frying pan.
I started to watch the races in the crowd, but I watched the rest of the races from the rooftop terrace at work.
Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, takes place a few weeks before Easter. This day was the day before the fasting began (and ended for Easter), so milk and eggs and other products would need to be used. The day was a 'half-holiday' at one time in England. Pancake races were a tradition and held in villages and towns. These events are not so common anymore, but there are a couple to be seen around London.
Spitalfields Pancake Race raises money for charity - the London Air Ambulance. Entrants must register in advance and bring their own frying pans on the day. There are also prizes for the best costumes.
Apologies for the poor quality of the photographs. My camera battery was dead, so I had to use my mobile phone.