Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day are all names for the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
In Germany and parts of Pennsylvania faschnachts are the way to go on fat Tuesday. I grew up in a region where faschnachts made a one day appearance and you had to get them early or pre-order to get some.
Pancake Day or shrove Tuesday has its roots in Ireland, Scotland and wales. The legend was that the first 3 pancakes on pancake day were sacred. In Ireland the girls were given the afternoon off of school so that they could make batter. If their first pancake toss was a success they would be married in the next year. Charms were baked into the pancakes and if an unmarried person found it they would be married in the next year. From Gilligan's Gourmet and Irish culture and customs.
Today is also the last day of Mardi Gras, so if you haven't gotten enough drunken revelry in yet, today is your last day.
I have very fond memories of celebrating today with a trip to the donuts shop for some faschnachts after school and having pancakes for dinner. It wasn't until I started researching this that I found that our traditions are mostly Irish. After having done some genealogy in the past few years, it turns out that my family stems from Irish roots. It is funny the way that traditions are passed down.
Happy Fat Tuesday!