Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Pan Cake Day Traditions

We had friends over yesterday for pancakes, as it was Shrove Tuesday. Because the friends who came over were mainlanders we did not put any money in our pancakes; we did not want any trips to emergency.

It is a tradition in Newfoundland to put money or other trinkets into pancake batter. My Aunt told me once that each trinket was symbolic of the future. As a kid, I always wanted the money and that is usually what we got, but as kids my Aunts and Uncles might have received:

  • A penny, to symbolize tight times ahead
  • A nickel, to symbolize money coming to you in the future
  • A string, to symbolize becoming a fisherman if a boy got the string, if a girl did she would marry a fisherman.
  • A ring, to symbolize that you would marry soon
  • A button, to symbolize that you would never marry
  • A nail, to symbolize that you would soon pass away (well yeah, if there are nails in your food I can see how that might happen)

Does anyone still do this? What sorts of things did you get in your pancakes as a kid? Did anyone get any money in their pancakes yesterday?


WhitbyDude01 said...

I couldn't even remember what the word "shrove" meant. It's the past tense of "shrive" which is a verb for obtaining absolution through some kind of confession and penace. Even though it's celebrated in different ways all around the world I think Newfoundland is the only place that actually bakes things into the batter.

The following is from Wikipedia:

In the Canadian province of Newfoundland, household objects are baked into the pancakes and served to family members. Rings, thimbles, thread, coins, and other objects all have meanings associated with them. The lucky one to find coins in their pancake will be rich, the finder of the ring will be the first married, and the finder of the thimble will be a seamstress or tailor.

Karen said...

I was talking to Joe's mother about this last night. She said they used to put pennies, buttons, string and their mother's wedding ring in their pancakes. She said they could buy a little package of all the items (except the wedding ring). I think there were other items but she could not remember them. She said they did not use a nail. Not sure where they bought the little packages either, but someone mentioned the church sold them. This would have been in St. John's in the 30's. I never heard of it before you mentioned it. When we were growing up Mom used to put money in our pancakes on Pancake Day, usually quarters. But we were not Catholic.

SNiP said...

I just used to get money. My mother was very careful about germs on the coin tho, she would boil the coins for hours it seemed.
After a while when we got older she would just put the money under the plate -this saved loads of time! lol