As in other Catholic countries that celebrate the last day before the fasting season of Lent begins, Poland has its own version of the French Mardis Gras (Fat Tuesday), known locally as Tłusty Czwartek, or Fat Thursday. With Lent forbidding sweets and treats, Fat Thursday is a similar celebration of gluttonous indulgence as in other countries, but with the date bungled, and instead of parading and partying the Poles queue up in lines that sometimes stretch around the corner in order to purchase pastries from the local cukiernia, or bakery.
Poland’s favourite pastries, particularly on Fat Thursday, are pączki – large deep-fried doughnuts typically filled with rose jam (or other marmalades), glazed with sugar, and sometimes topped with a piece of candied orange peel. Another Fat Thursday favourite are faworki / chrust – thin dough ribbons, fried until crispy and sprinkled with powdered sugar. The number of these baked goods consumed annually on Fat Thursday is truly astronomical, but you can buy them any day of the year in most bakeries. This year Fat Thursday falls on February 27th.