I have only seen this once before in the U.S. (IHOP celebrates with a free American pancake), but, to be honest, London does it WAY better. Pancake relay races, free “pancakes” (they looked like crepes to me) with so many different fillings, giveaways (heart-shaped pancake/cookie cutters) and the smiling faces of people who are excited to celebrate.
I did some research and the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is called “Shrove Tuesday” or “Pancake Tuesday/Day.” Pancakes are eaten because, “…hey were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent” (thanks Wikipedia).
So, I will never be coming home. I’m too full of free pancakes.