This coming Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent in the Christian calandar,with Shrove Tuesday or 'Pancake Day' as it is now more popularly known being the last day upon which the faithful can eat sweet and fatty foods until Easter Sunday.
A 150 years ago howeverit was a rowdy festival at which cock fights, horse racing and dancing often took place, whilst in 1868 it is recorded as 'Blackamoor Night' where little boys blackened their faces and went from door to door begging for sweets.
A lesser known Cornish festival however used to be celebrated on theMonday before Shrove Tuesday and was known as 'Nicky Nan Night', where young men roamed the streets causing mischief and mayhem. A procession carried a burning straw figure which was said to be the Queen of the Cornish piskies, Joan the Wad, following which a meal of pea soup was served.
Whether you choose pancakes or pea soup this week, spare the burning of Joan & enjoy.