No story is the same to us after a lapse of time; or rather we who read it are no longer the same interpreters.
~ George Eliot
The luckiest people in the world grow up with a plentiful shower of stories, traditions, legends and tales in their childhood. I certainly did. I read about them in books, learned about them at school, and of course my family celebrated some of them – e.g. Christmas, Dumpling Festival [or Duan Wu Jie], Mooncake [or Mid-Autumn] Festival, just to name a few.
In the last few years, I’ve lost my fascination with and anticipation of some of them. Or, at least, I have never stopped loving the stories and the memories, but I haven’t felt as eager to celebrate them. It’s not New Zealand’s fault; perhaps it is just that to revisit some of those things make me unbearably homesick for what I can never retrieve now and do not hope to. The present has too much goodness in it to stay rooted in the past.
For now, it is good enough to keep listening to people’s stories and exploring different places and cultures whenever I can.
So, recently my friend Gudrun and I joined Marcel’s Great Pancake Race before we went to work. Marcel and team did a great job organising and facilitating this, and from various facial expressions around me I gather that everyone enjoyed themselves – and I imagine that more than one of us discovered the joys of Marcel’s pancakes!
People raced down neat green lanes with mini skillets and pancakes in hand, flipping as they went (a little harder than it may seem)… and then we were all treated to fresh pancakes with a delicious choice of toppings. Hardly a bad reason to stumble out of bed at 6.30am, if you ask me :-)
Are you reading this and wondering what the deal is with pancakes and running? To be honest, my brain didn’t make the connection between Lent and Pancake Day and pancakes until a few days later (I know…).
The tradition has a rather funny (to me) story behind it – the story goes that in 1445, a woman lost track of time cooking pancakes, found herself terribly late for Shriving service, then ran (à la Maria in The Sound of Music, in my mind) – down to church still decked in her apron, clutching skillet and pancake. Her neighbours then (as neighbours do) turned this incident into a race to see who could reach the church first and collect a “Kiss of Peace” from the verger (bell-ringer.) And the rest, as they say, is history… coming to form what we today know as Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day/Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday.
Thank you Marcel and team, for bringing colour to Auckland and for a beautiful morning.