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Tłusty Czwartek in Poland: How to Celebrate Polish Donut Day

It really is fascinating how a single holiday celebrated across different countries can vary so much, and how a country’s culture influences these nuances. For instance, Fat Thursday (or Tłusty Czwartek) could also be called Polish Donut Day in Poland while in Greece it’s more of a meat fest. Polish Americans often celebrate the day on Tuesday instead of Thursday though.

At PolishPod101.com, our goal is to help you grasp the Polish culture and master its language all while having fun. In this article, we’ll be going over Fat Thursday’s Polish history as well as
what Fat Thursday Polish traditions look like. By learning about this holiday, you’ll be getting a better understanding of Poland and its customs, thus enabling you to more effectively learn the language.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Fat Thursday in Poland?

In Poland, Fat Thursday is not a national holiday, but that doesn’t prevent people from celebrating, and once again they do so with food! If you were to give this day another name, it would be Donut Day, or dzień pączka.

Fat Thursday is the Thursday before Lent, which a period of fasting and abstinence. It’s a common habit in many countries to hold gluttonous and entertaining holidays before Lent like this, and in Poland this means eating Polish donuts and other sweets until you’re stuffed! (Best to get your fill while you can!)

2. When is Fat Thursday?

This is a Moveable Feast

The date of Fat Thursday varies by year, and is considered a “moveable feast,” as it depends on the dates of Easter and Lent. Fat Thursday takes place the Thursday before Lent begins. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2019: February 28
  • 2020: February 20
  • 2021: February 11
  • 2022: February 24
  • 2023: February 16
  • 2024: February 8
  • 2025: February 27
  • 2026: February 12
  • 2027: February 4
  • 2028: February 17

3. How is Poland’s Fat Thursday Celebrated?

Eating Lots of Pastries

In short: Donuts, donuts, and more Polish donuts!

Fat Thursday ends the Carnival or karnawał—a time when masquerade balls take place in Poland, for both adults and children. This is the last day before Easter that people can take the liberty of stuffing themselves. Immediately after Fat Thursday, Lent begins.

As you may have guessed, Fat Thursday is a day of gluttony, or obżarstwo, but not just any kind of gluttony! This day is defined by donuts, called pączki. Donuts are made in cake shops in much, much greater amounts than usual. Supermarket shelves bend under the weight of different types of donuts, of which the Polish version don’t have holes in the middle. The most common type of donut is covered with icing sugar and has a strawberry or rose jam filling.

Besides eating them, Polish people also like to give them to other people. For example, the boss at work usually buys donuts for his or her employees, while the employees buy donuts for their colleagues. If you’re going to meet your friends on this day, buy a donut for everyone, because you’ll surely be getting one somewhere along the way!

4. Reading Practice: Polish Donuts

When we said “gluttony” earlier, we weren’t kidding. Read the Polish text below to find out how many donuts are consumed in Poland on Fat Thursday, and about the unique Polish pastry called angel wings (you can find the English translation just below it).

—–
Drugim bardzo popularnym elementem, tym razem domowej roboty, są faworki. Jest to jedyny dzień w roku, kiedy smażymy faworki, bo wymagają dużo pracy, a zjada się je w mgnieniu oka!

W Polsce uważamy, że każdy, ale to każdy, bez wyjątku musi zjeść przynajmniej jednego pączka. Statystyki mówią, że w Tłusty Czwartek zjadamy ponad 10 milionów pączków, co daje nam średnio 2,5 pączka na osobę.

—–

Another very popular element—homemade this time—are angel wings. This is the only day of the year that we make angel wings because they require a lot of work, and we eat them in the blink of an eye!

We believe in Poland that everyone, literally everyone, without exception, must eat at least one donut. Statistics show that we eat more than ten million donuts on Fat Thursday, which averages out to 2.5 donuts per person.

5. Must-know Vocab for Tłusty Czwartek

Upcoming Lent Holiday

In order to celebrate Fat Thursday in Poland, there’s some basic vocabulary you should know. Be sure to study this list as much as you need to!

  • Tłusty Czwartek — Fat Thursday
  • cukiernia — confectionary store
  • cukier puder — castor sugar
  • faworki — Angel wings
  • lukier — icing
  • objadać się — stuff oneself
  • pączek — doughnut
  • pączek z dżemem różanym — doughnut with rose jam
  • święto ruchome — moveable feast
  • smażyć na głębokim tłuszczu — deep fry
  • kaloria — calorie
  • Wielki Post — Lent
  • smakołyk — goody

To hear the pronunciation of each word, check out our Polish Fat Thursday vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Now that you know more about how people in Poland celebrate Fat Thursday, let us know what you think about this holiday. Is there a similar holiday in your own country?

To learn more about Polish culture and the language, visit us at PolishPod101.com. We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow Polish learners. You can even download our MyTeacher app for a one-on-one learning experience with your own personal Polish teacher.

We hope you enjoyed learning about Fat Thursday. Continue brushing up on your vocabulary and stay tuned for more Polish holiday articles. You’ll be a master at the Polish language before you know it! (And treat yourself to a doughnut or two to celebrate!)

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