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Fat Thursday[note 1] is a traditional Christian feast marking the last Thursday before Lent and is associated with the celebration of Carnival. Because Lent is a time of fasting, the next opportunity to feast would not be until Laetare Sunday[2][3], and after that not until Easter. Traditionally it is a day dedicated to eating, when people meet in their homes or cafés with their friends and relatives and eat large quantities of sweets, cakes and other meals usually not eaten during Lent. Among the most popular all-national dishes served on that day are pączki in Poland[4][5] or berliner, fist-sized donuts filled with rose marmalade, and angel wings (faworki), French dough fingers served with powdered sugar.

Fat Thursday
TypeChristian, cultural
SignificanceCelebration period before fasting season of Lent
Date6 days before Ash Wednesday, 52 days before Easter
2017 dateFebruary 23
2018 dateFebruary 8[1]
2019 dateFebruary 28
2020 dateFebruary 20
Related toCarnival, Fat Tuesday
A plate of Polish pączki
A plate of angel wings
"Bizcochos" and "mona" on Fat Thursday in Albacete, Spain


By countryEdit


Weiberfastnacht is an unofficial holiday in the Rhineland.[6] At the majority of workplaces, work ends before noon. Celebrations start at 11:11 am. In comparison with Rosenmontag, there are hardly any parades, but people wear costumes and celebrate in pubs and in the streets.[7] Beueler Weiberfastnacht ("women's carnival in Beuel") is traditionally celebrated In the Bonn district of Beuel.[8] The tradition is said to have started here in 1824, when local women first formed their own "carnival committee". The symbolic storming of the Beuel town hall is broadcast live on TV. In many towns across the state of North Rhine Westphalia, a ritual "takeover" of the town halls by local women has become tradition. Among other established customs, on that day women cut off the ties of men, which are seen as a symbol of men's status. The men wear the stumps of their ties and get a Bützchen (little kiss) as compensation.[9]


Greeks celebrate Tsiknopempti, which literally means "Thursday of the Smoke of Grilled Meat". It is celebrated 11 days before Clean Monday (which marks the start of the fasting period of Lent); since the week before Lent is considered meat-free (but not dairy-free), and Wednesday and Friday are generally considered days of fasting in the Greek-Orthodox Christian tradition, this makes Tsiknopempti one of the last opportunities for people to eat meat, so this has traditionally led to the day acquiring a special festive character. Greeks celebrate by taking to the streets and consuming large quantities of grilled meat, such as souvlaki. Many local town councils set up grills in central squares with music and festivities.[10]


Giovedì grasso (Fat Thursday) is celebrated in Italy,[11] but it is not very different from martedì grasso (Shrove Tuesday). In Venice at the turn into the twentieth century, for example, it was marked by "masquerades, a battle of flowers on the Plaza, a general illumination and the opening of the lottery".[12] The English writer Marie Corelli mentioned "Giovedi Grasso" in her second novel, Vendetta (1886), as a day when "the fooling and the mumming, the dancing, shrieking, and screaming would be at its height."[13]


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.[14][15]


In Spain this celebration is called jueves lardero, and in Catalan-speaking areas, dijous gras, a children's holiday.[16] In Albacete in central Spain, jueves lardero is celebrated with a square pastry called a bizcocho (see also Bizcocho) and a round pastry called a mona. In Aragon a meal is prepared with a special sausage from Graus while in Catalonia the tradition is to eat sweet Bunyols and Botifarra d’ou.


In Sweden this celebration is called Fettisdagen (The Fat Tuesday) is the Swedish name for the Tuesday after the Quinquagesima and the day between Shrove Monday and Ash Wednesday. Because it is the last day before the Lenten fast, a tradition has developed of eating buns, called "fastlagsbullar", "fettisdagsbullar" (Fat Tuesday Buns) or "semla". The day is also called "White Tuesday" because the buns are made out of white flour.

The day is called "Mardi Gras" in France, "Carnaval" or "Vastenavond" in the Netherlands, "laskiainen"/"fastlagstisdagen" in Finland, "vastlapäev" in Estonia, and "Fastelavn" in Denmark. In the UK it is known as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day.

Other traditionsEdit

Syrian Catholics have celebrated the day as "Drunkard's Thursday" with dolmas as the traditional food.[17][18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ German: Fetter Donnerstag, Schmotziger Donnerstag; or in areas where carnival is celebrated, Weiberfastnacht; Greek: Τσικνοπέμπτη (Tsiknopempti); Polish: tłusty czwartek; Hungarian: torkos csütörtök


  1. ^ Moveable date calculations by Module:Easter – via {{Calendar date}}
  2. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Laetare Sunday". Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  3. ^ "Laetare Sunday - Christianity". Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  4. ^ Poles gorge themselves on Fat, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 23, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  5. ^ Fat Thursday in Poland – Lodz Post – Poland in English Archived February 6, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Attack of the Giant Bananas: Germany Kicks off Carnival" Archived May 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Tyrone Daily Herald (February 7, 1996): 9. via  
  7. ^ "Mark in Germany" Archived May 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Lake Park News (March 2, 1972): 7. via  
  8. ^ "This was 'Weiberfastnacht,' and Milady Held the Reins" Archived May 12, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Salt Lake Tribune (February 6, 1959): 35. via  
  9. ^ Petra Pluwatsch: Weiberfastnacht – Die Geschichte eines ganz besonderen Tages. KiWi, Köln, ISBN 978-3-462-03805-7
  10. ^ "Tsiknopempti: All you need to know about "Fat Thursday" in Greece". Archived from the original on February 7, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  11. ^ "'Fat Thursday' Celebrated by the Romans" Archived February 2, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Lebanon Daily News (February 27, 1930): 1. via  
  12. ^ Dwight, "Carnival of Venice Opens" Archived May 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. The Times (Philadelphia) (February 10, 1899): 7. via  
  13. ^ Marie Corelli, Vendetta: A Story of One Forgotten Archived January 18, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. (Floating Press 2015): 376. ISBN 9781776587513
  14. ^ "Fat Thursday & Herring Night". Archived from the original on February 7, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "Poland celebrates 'Fat Thursday'". Archived from the original on February 7, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  16. ^ Ora W. L. Slater, "Thursday before Lent is Barcelona Children's Day" Archived May 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. El Paso Herald (June 25, 1928): 10. via  
  17. ^ Maxine Buren, "February Has Many Pre-Lenten Holidays" Archived May 12, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Oregon Statesman (February 13, 1960): 6. via  
  18. ^ "Catholic Recipe: Dolmas" Archived September 13, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Catholic

External linksEdit