It’s Fat Thursday, Let’s Feast!

Courtesy of Eric Basile
Courtesy of Eric Basile

Tradition is sacred and who are we to disregard tradition? On Fat Thursday (T&#322usty Czwartek) the tradition dictates that we feast… on p&#261czki! Not that there needs to be a reason to eat p&#261czki but here are some interesting facts about the holiday.

Fat Thursday is a Christian feast celebrated last Thursday before Lent and since the latter marks a time of reflection, self-denial, penance, the next opportunity to feast will be Easter. That’s almost six weeks away!

In Poland, Fat Thursday is usually celebrated by eating p&#261czki or chrust (faworki, or simply; angel wings). This allowed the household to use up their stock of sugar, lard, fruit and eggs since those were forbidden during lent.

These days, p&#261czki are usually filled with rose or plum jam, and sometimes lemon, custard and other fruits covered with powdered sugar or icing. Yummy! (or if you prefer the Polish: mniam!).

For the meat lovers, it might be interesting that “back-in-the-day,” people filled p&#261czki with bacon, meat and fatback (s&#322onina) and chased them with vodka.

Krak&#243w celebrated Fat Thursday in their own way. According to folklore, there was a misogynist mayor in Krak&#243w named Comber (c=ts) who particularly mistreated (women) peddlers by beating them, swearing at them and even jailing them. When he died on Fat Thursday, people rejoiced, danced and drank saying Comber croaked: zdech&#322 Comber.

Since then, on Fat Thursday, women dressed-up (and were buzzed more often than not), entered town at dawn (buzzed at dawn?!) and carried a effigy (named Comber) representing a man. During the game, women jumped at the effigy and ripped it apart. Once they reached the main square, they chased bachelors and if they stopped a courtier in a carriage, he had to ransom himself. They demanded a kiss from the particularly handsome but the ugly and poor bachelors were tied to a large wooden block. After a few hours of hunting and torture, dancing and drinking began.

To approach p&#261czki from a different perspective: it is always wise to cut them. Why? Because in 1924, Polish mathematicians Alfred Tarski and Stefan Banach published a paper which proved that a 3-dimensional spherical object can be cut in such a way that it can be put back together to make TWO identical copies! Leave it to the Poles to create two p&#261czki out of one!

Time to feast.