Fat Thursday Date in the current year: February 8, 2024

Fat Thursday In most European countries, Carnival festivities reach their peak either on Rosenmontag or on Shrove Tuesday (the Monday or the Tuesday before the beginning of Lent), but, of course, they start before that. In some countries, for example, it is common to cook and eat large quantities of foods that are prohibited during Lent on the last Thursday before Lent, which is known as Fat Thursday.

Fat Thursday is most widely celebrated in Poland, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain. In Poland, it is called Tłusty Czwartek. Back in the day, it used to be marked by mummers’ parades featuring mostly women that were held in towns and villages throughout Poland.

Today, most festivities occur on Shrove Tuesday, and Fat Thursday is the day dedicated to eating various sweet treats that are forbidden during Lent. Traditional foods sold at Polish bakeries on the occasion include pączki (deep-fried doughnuts filled with jam or confiture) and faworki (angel wings).

When the tradition of baking doughnuts for Fat Thursday was just beginning, they had no filling, but some doughnuts contained a nut. Such doughnuts were considered “lucky” because they were believed to give good luck to those who ate them.

In Germany, Fat Thursday is celebrated predominantly in the Rhineland. Its German name is Weiberfastnacht, which means “Women’s Carnival”. One of the oldest Fat Thursday celebrations in Germany is Beueler Weiberfastnacht, a women’s carnival that has been celebrated in the Bonn district of Beuel since 1824.

A symbolic “takeover” of the town hall by local women is a common Fat Thursday tradition in Bonn and other cities and towns across North Rhine Westphalia. Another interesting custom is for women to cut off men’s ties, which are considered a symbol of their status. Men proceed to wear cropped ties all day to acknowledge that women are in charge. As a compensation, they get a little kiss (Bützchen).

Although Fat Thursday isn’t an official holiday, many employers would let their employees get off work around noon. There are hardly any parades, but people wear carnival costumes, celebrate in pubs, and eat doughnuts filled with jam or marmalade that are called Berliners.

In Greece, the last Thursday before Lent is called Tsiknopempti. Here, the celebration is associated with massive amounts of roasted or grilled meat, and the festivities revolve around large outdoor barbecue parties. It should be noted that the Greek Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar, so Tsiknopempti does not coincide with Fat Thursday as celebrated in Western Christianity.

In Italy, Fat Thursday (Giovedì grasso) is celebrated similarly to Shrove Tuesday, albeit on a smaller scale. In Spain, the celebration is called jueves lardero in Spanish and dijous gras in Catalan. Each region of the country has its own traditional dishes cooked for Fat Thursday: mona (a round pastry stuffed with a boiled egg) in Albacete, a special sausage in Aragon, buñuelo (a type of doughnut) and botifarra d’ou (egg sausage) in Catalonia, etc.

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Fat Thursday, Shrove Thursday, folk festivals, Shrovetide, Carnival festivities