The amount of festivals, holidays, celebrations, wacky days and events in Poland never ever ceases to amaze me. It is a country steeped in endless history and tradition. What is amazing is how all these traditions remain intact and continue to thrive in today’s modernic Polska. In fact, I’d say some of Poland’s festivals get bigger year on year. I need to write about more of these types of things but simply haven’t had the time.
There are festivals such as Woodstock, Opener (in Gdynia) and there are religious days such as The Three Kings Day, All Saints Day and Christmas. Poland also celebrate events like Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. They also soak you with water on Easter Monday in what is known as “Śmigus-dyngus”. Then there is the brutal war and death history. 11th November is National Independence Day (Polish: Narodowe Święto Niepodległości), 1st August is Warsaw Uprising Day and there are more in the country’s coloured cannonballs. On top of all this there is the food tradition of twelve dishes on the 24th December and then here in February, the Polish have their Tłusty Czwartek / Fat Thursday! This is held annually on the last Thursday before lent. I am writing this today, on Tłusty Czwartek to try and explain and understand what it is. I love it!
What is Tłusty Czwartek / Fat Thursday?
It’s a Church related day but also a big excuse to eat lots of food, and particularly Faworki (angel wings, pastry with sugar) and Pączki (filled doughnuts). It is held on the last Thursday before lent. In Poland, Fat Thursday is called Tłusty Czwartek. People purchase their favorite pastries from their local bakeries. Traditional foods include pączki, which are large deep-fried pieces of especially rich dough, traditionally filled with plum or rose hip jam (though others are commonly used) and topped with powdered sugar, icing, or glaze. My friend David AKA Chido-Fajny has a superb blog on Poland from a Mexican viewpoint, and he also covered Tłusty Czwartek.
When is Tłusty Czwartek / Fat Thursday?
Fat Thursday changes every year, but of course is always on a Thursday. It is celebrated once a year, on the last Thursday prior to Ash Wednesday (6 days before) and therefore also just before the beginning of Lent.
Where is Tłusty Czwartek / Fat Thursday?
It is all over Poland. And other countries also celebrate it, including Germany, Greece Italy and Spain. Polish people living abroad also celebrate this day. If you are in Poland on Fat Thursday, prepare to love it! Shops and bakeries all over the country get queued out.
What exactly happens on Tłusty Czwartek / Fat Thursday?
You eat lots of food! The bakeries are queued out and the most famous two types of food are Faworki (angel wings, pastry with sugar) and Pączki (filled doughnuts). I was aiming to get fat for the day, which is difficult with my weight and fast metabolism. The Pączki come in many varieties including with raspberry and rose jam, or chocolate, with almonds, with orange pieces on top. There are a range!
- You will have bad luck for an entire year if you do not eat at least one Pączki! (I had 6 in 2018)
Pączki (filled doughnuts)
Faworki (angel wings, pastry with sugar)
So that’s basically it! Get ready to enjoy Fat Thursday!!
Smacznego!! (Polish for “Enjoy your meal”)