|Significance||Celebration period before fasting season of Lent|
|Date||5 days before Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras, 6 days before Ash Wednesday, 52 days before Easter|
|2018 date||February 8|
|2019 date||February 28|
|2020 date||February 20|
|2021 date||February 11|
|Related to||Carnival, Fat Tuesday|
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 days leading up to Ash Wednesday provide the last opportunity for feasting until Laetare Sunday, 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 or berliner, fist-sized donuts filled with rose hip jam, and angel wings (faworki), French dough fingers served with powdered sugar.
Weiberfastnacht is an unofficial holiday in the Rhineland. At the majority of workplaces, work ends before noon. Celebrations start at 5:00 in Germany. In comparison with Rosenmontag, there are hardly any parades, but people wear costumes and celebrate in pubs and in the streets. Beueler Weiberfastnacht ("women's carnival in Beuel") 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.
Giovedì grasso (Fat Thursday) is celebrated in Italy, 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". 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."
In Poland, Fat Thursday is called Tłusty Czwartek. People purchase their favorite pastries from their local bakeries. Traditional foods include pączki (doughnuts), which are large deep-fried pieces of especially rich dough, traditionally filled with plum or rose petal jam (though others are commonly used) and topped with powdered sugar, icing, or glaze. Angel wings (faworki) are also commonly consumed on this day.
In Spain this celebration is called jueves lardero, and in Catalan-speaking areas, dijous gras, a children's holiday. 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.
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- 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 Newspapers.com
- Maxine Buren, "February Has Many Pre-Lenten Holidays" Archived May 12, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Oregon Statesman (February 13, 1960): 6. via Newspapers.com
- "Catholic Recipe: Dolmas" Archived September 13, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Catholic Culture.org.