While most Americans will celebrate Fat Tuesday next week as the traditional final indulgence until the start of Lent, some are already beginning festivities with Fat Thursday. Yes, it's real.
Fat Thursday, six days before Ash Wednesday, is the traditional beginning of festivities in many European cultures that lead up to the beginning of Lent, a solemn 40-day period on the Christian calendar. People of Polish heritage are among those who celebrate Fat Thursday, and one Buffalo establishment was busy making and selling them traditional Polish pastry Pączki, pronounced "POONCH-key."
"It's very important. It's where Pączki started in Poland," said Ty Reynolds, owner of Mazurek's Bakery. "They actually celebrate on Thursday instead of the traditional American way on Tuesday."
The steady seller on Fat Thursday, Reynolds told WBFO, was the traditional Pączki featuring a black raspberry filling and rum glaze. His business is just one of many that will sell the Polish treat next Tuesday, which many Polish-Americans name "Pączki Day" over Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras.
Reynolds and his staff have already taken numerous orders and are preparing to put in a long Monday night to prepare fresh batches for Fat Tuesday customers.
"There will be hundreds of dozens of Pączki for Tuesday," he said.