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The Travel Well – Fat Tuesday

February 9, 2016

(As always, comments are appreciated. Partners on this venture are always welcomed. So, contact me with whatever.)

So, we all know what generally happens on Fat Tuesday. Or maybe do not want to know. However, let us not forget other holidays celebrated today. Either way, it still sums up to a day of indulgence and excess.




So, the quick on today.


  • “Mardi Gras” is French for Fat Tuesday.
  • Fat Tuesday is also known as Shrove Tuesday, a term that has its roots in the word “shrive,” meaning “to absolve someone of their sins.”
  • In many places, today is also Paczki Day, celebrated today in many places in the Midwest, especially in Chicago.


All these celebrations have similar roots.

No discussion of Easter is complete without a mention of its much-anticipated precursor — Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It’s the last chance to party hearty before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins.

In the old days, meat and meat byproducts, like butter and eggs, couldn’t be eaten during Lent. So ingenious cooks used up all their dairy and eggs during Fat Week, from Shrove Thursday to Shrove Tuesday, by making crepe-like pancakes, called nalysnyky in Ukraine (similar to Polish naleśniki), and doughnuts called spurgos in Lithuania, krofne in Serbia, and pączki˘ (POHN/CH-kee) in Poland, according to



A Paczki is a traditional Polish pastry that resembles pretty much a donut. Pączki are deep-fried pieces of dough shaped into flattened spheres and filled with confiture or other sweet filling.


In North America, particularly the large Polish community of Chicago, Detroit, and other large cities across the Midwest, Paczki Day is celebrated annually by immigrants and locals alike. The date of this observance merges with that of pre-Lenten traditions of other immigrants (e.g., Pancake Day,Mardi Gras) on Fat Tuesday. With its sizable Polish population, Chicago celebrates the festival on both Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday; pączki are also often eaten on Casimir Pulaski Day. In Buffalo, Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, South Bend, and Windsor, Pączki Day is celebrated on Fat Tuesday.



Today is also Pancake Day in England.

What’s this, you ask?

According to The Telegraph, Britons have celebrated Pancake Day for centuries. Known also as Shrove Tuesday, its exact date, rather confusingly, changes every year, because it is determined by when Easter falls. But it is always the day preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), and always falls in February or March.

The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and penance. Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the custom for Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent.

Why do we celebrate Pancake Day?

Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up rich, indulgent foods like eggs and milk before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began. But although it is enshrined in Christian tradition, it is believed that Pancake Day might originate in a pagan holiday, when eating warm, round pancakes – symbolizing the sun – was a way of celebrating the arrival of spring.



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