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Fat Thursday (German Fetter Donnerstag, Schmotziger Donnerstag, or in areas where carnival is celebrated Weiberfastnacht; Greek: Τσικνοπέμπτη (Tsiknopempti); Polish: Tłusty czwartek; Hungarian: torkos csütörtök) is a traditional Catholic 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 Easter. It is similar to, but should not be confused with, the French festival of Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday"). 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 or berliner, fist-sized donuts filled with rose marmalade, and faworki, French dough fingers served with lots of powdered sugar.
In Greece, Greeks celebrate by taking to the streets and consume large quantities of meat as souvlaki by grill. City and town governments set up grills in central squares with music, too. Tsiknopempti literally means "Thursday of the Smoke of Grilled Meat" and it is celebrated 11 days before Clean Monday. Like a pagan fertility festivals of the god Dionysus, with ancient Greek origin, take place in Greece and marks the beginning of the Greek Orthodox fasting period before Easter.
In Italy, Giovedì Grasso (Fat Thursday) is also celebrated, but it is not very different from Martedì Grasso (Shrove Tuesday). It is also similar to the Greek custom of Tsiknopempti (loosely translatable as "Barbecue Thursday"), which involves the massive consumption of charred meat in the evening of Thursday, ten days before the beginning of the Great Lent (the Orthodox stop eating meat a week before Lent starts). In Spain this celebration is called jueves lardero, and in Catalan-speaking areas, dijous gras.
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.
In the Rhineland (Germany), Weiberfastnacht is an unofficial holiday. 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. Beueler Weiberfastnacht ("washerwomen's carnival") is traditionally celebrated In the Bonn district of Beuel. 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.
- Poles gorge themselves on Fat Thursday-TheNews.pl, http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/90408,Poles-gorge-themselves-on-Fat-Thursday
- Petra Pluwatsch: Weiberfastnacht – Die Geschichte eines ganz besonderen Tages. KiWi, Köln, ISBN 978-3-462-03805-7