Choir kids flip pancakes

Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Let 'em flip

Choir children flip pancakes on Feb. 5 in celebration of the religious holiday Shrove Tuesday at England's Salisbury Cathedral.

Shrove Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras or Pancake Day, occurs the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40-day Christian observance of Lent. Although Shrove Tuesday actually falls on Feb. 12 this year, the pancake festivites were organized a week early to avoid interfering with children's mid-term break from school next week.

Coincidentally, the date change isn't any less appropriate; Feb. 5 also happens to be the much-beloved National Pancake Day in the U.S. and Canada. To honor this auspicious holiday, IHOP is giving out a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes to all guests. An estimated 4 million pancakes were consumed during last year's Free Pancake Day. (That's enough to form a stack of flapjacks nearly 16 miles high.)

For every free stack, IHOP encourages guests to make a voluntary donation to the Children's Miracle Network or other designated local charities. Since the holiday's inception in 2006, IHOP has served up more than 14 million free pancakes and raised more than $10 million for charity.

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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

Flapjacks fly as choir kids celebrate Pancake Day [Photo]
During last year's Pancake Day, an estimated 4 million pancakes were consumed in IHOP restaurants.