Tłusty czwartek (Fat Thursday). Some Americans celebrate Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. In Poland, however, festivities begin
almost a week earlier, on Fat Thursday.
Poles say that the festivities
start earlier to give them more time to enjoy the last days before Lent, which
strictly forbids loud parties and meat dishes. In truth, "Tłusty czwartek” started
in Poland long ago when Thursday was the traditional day for over-eating before
Friday’s fast. On Tłusty
czwartek, Poles stuff themselves with “pączeks” while on the
following Tuesday, known as Fat Tuesday throughout the world and the last day
before the official start of Lent (Ash Wednesday), Poles dance and party to
burn off calories and have fun before the lenten season of abstinence.
Based on the text by Ewa Orlik http://www.lsa.umich.edu/slavic/dept/WebBasedLanguage/Polish/Culture/Carnival.htm
Pączki i tłusty czwartek (Pączeks and
Thursday). The most popular
tradition in Poland on Fat Thursday is the making and eating of pączeks. A pączek is defined as “a
filled baked good in a round shape, fried in fat.” This may sound like an American doughnut, but we shouldn’t
mistake a Dunkin doughnut for this traditional Polish pastry. The usual filling for pączeks
is plum butter and other marmalades.
In recent years, however, the variety of fillings has expanded to
liquor, pudding and even whipped
Confectioners of the Blikle Café (the most famous café in Warsaw)
sell an average of 10,000 pączeks on a regular day. On Fat Thursday, they expect to sell about
ten times more, estimating that the average Varsovian won’t eat more than 5 pączeks.
The average pączek is around 7cm (3 in) and weighs
4.5 dkg. Its caloric value is 220-230 calories, depending on the filling. To
burn this amount of calories, you need to walk for 2 hours or run for over a
In 2003, the price of a pączek was around 2.50
zł (about 60¢).
Assuming that on Fat Thursday the average Pole will eat 2.5 pączeks, Poles will consume over 96 million
pączeks on this day.
Based on „Tłusty czwartek” in Nasza
Polonia, nr. 02-2001 http://members.tripod.com/~napolarch2000/0102/0102tlusty.html