Bannocks and Brose


Pancake Day

Feb 16

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Pancake Day
Bannocks and Brose
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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Great A, little a,
This is pancake day;
Toss the ball high, Throw the ball low,
Those that come after May sing heigh-ho!"

~ Traditional

Shrove Tuesday (known in some countries as Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday) and in Scotland as Bannock Night, is a moveable feast day in February or March preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes!

Bannocks and Brose

Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Day, Mardi Gras or Pancake Tuesday) and in Scotland as Bannock Night, is a moveable feast day in February or March preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes.


Being the last day before the penitential season of Lent, indulging in foods that one sacrifices for the upcoming forty days, have given rise to particular recipes associated with this day.


The Scots version of Lenten pancakes were known a bannocks, made with oatmeal, eggs, milk or beef stock and cooked on a girdle (griddle).  There was also a custom of making milk-brose or gruel to eat with the bannocks so that the festive night was known in different parts of the country also as Bannock Night, Brose Day (Brosie), or Milk-Gruel Night.  


In older days, the night's rituals might involve ritual pouring of batter - one person would pour the batter onto the griddle, another turned the pancake and a third removed them when they were ready, handing them round the assembled company.  When the bowl of batter was almost empty, a small quantity of soot was aded to the mixture to make the large sooty bannock, also known as the dreaming bannock.  

A sooty bannock would fill the whole girdle and symbolic charms could be dropped into it:  button (bachelor); a ring (married); thimble (old maid); farthing (widow); scrap of material (tailor); straw (farmer).  Once the bannock was turned and cooked through, it was cut into bits and put into the baker's apron for everyone to draw a piece with their fortune.  At the end of the evening, a piece of the sooty bannock woul  put inside a sock and placed under pillows where the dreamer hoped to dream of their future partner.


And for a modern recipe for Border (Selkirk) Bannocks, click the picture of "The Pancake Cook," by Adriaan de Lelie dating from 1790 - 1810.



This particular recipe is said to be that of the first Selkirk bannock ever made by bakery owner Robbie Douglas in 1859, and that Queen Victoria would have nothing else with her tea.

Bannocks and Brose
Bannocks and Brose

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The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the


Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 


Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

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