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Fat Tuesday vs. Fat Thursday

paczki 400x300Fat Tuesday is the traditional name for the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It is more commonly known as Mardi Gras, which is simply Fat Tuesday in French. It gets its name from the custom, in many Catholic countries, of marking the day with feasting before the fasting season of Lent begins.

Fat Thursday (Polish Tłusty czwartek; Hungarian torkos csütörtök, German Fetter Donnerstag, or in areas where carnival is celebrated Weiberfastnacht; Greek Τσικνοπέμπτη (Tsiknopempti); is a traditional Catholic feast marking the last Thursday before Lent and is associated with the celebration of Carnival. Because Lent is a time of fasting, the next opportunity to feast would not be until Easter. It is similar to, but should not be confused with, the French festival of Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday"). Traditionally it is a day dedicated to eating, when people meet with their friends and relatives and eat large quantities of sweets, cakes and other meals forbidden during Lent. Among the most popular all-national dishes served on that day are pączki, fist-sized donuts filled with rose marmalade, and faworki or Chrusciki (Angel Wings), French dough fingers served with lots of powdered sugar.


paczki 400x300 zblizenie

The tradition of eating doughnuts on Fat Thursday began in Poland during the 17th century, with the jam-filled pastries originally being deep fried in lard, which still used in some households for the occasion. Among bakers and confectioners, Fat Thursday is regarded as one of the busiest days of the year, with many cake shops open from the early hours of the morning after a marathon night of frying doughnuts. Łukasz Blikle of Blikle Confectionery, a firm with an almost 150 year-long tradition, says that today’s demand for pączki is twenty times higher than on an ordinary day. Statistics for the past few years show that around 100 million doughnuts and many hundreds of kilograms of the faworki are eaten on Fat Thursday in Poland, with the average Pole eating two and a half doughnuts. According to Bartosz Turek of Home Broker, quoted by Gazeta Wyborcza, the money spent on Fat Thursday delicacies today would buy 200 apartments of 50 square metres in Warsaw and as many as around 430 in Bydgoszcz, northern Poland.