Fat Thursday – tłusty czwartek (pronounced twoosty chvartek), celebrates the last day of festivities before Roman Catholics start fasting. This year it falls on 4 February. Next opportunity to feast will not be until Easter.
Say “tłusty czwartek” and everyone knows it’s all about eating pączki and faworki. Pączki are fried donuts often filled with marmalade or pudding, and sprinkled with powdered sugar or glazed. Faworki are made of thin sweet dough, twisted in a signature twist, deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. On this day you can eat all the donuts and sweets guilt free.
Bakeries go into overdrive the night before this unofficial holiday. Everyone can hardly wait for the day when you are expected to eat as much as you want, no judgements passed.
There has not been a year when I would not have indulged in this tradition. Frankly, its unavoidable. Employers treat their employees to varieties of these sweet pastries, and everyone is expected to eat at least a couple. Jelly or custard filled, glazed or powder sugar-coated, everyone can find their favorite.
Parents bring home an assortment of the sweet pastries and kids, extra excited for this tradition are often, allowed to skip dinner.
Tomorrow, Poland will enter a period known as “ostatki” meaning last days of carnival. This will continue until Tuesday of following week, and end on Ash Wednesday. Lent will begin and last until Easter.
Until then, donuts for everyone!