What Do People Eat on Fat Tuesday?

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On Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, people tend to indulge in sweet, rich and fatty foods as a last hurrah before the Lenten period of fasting that begins the next day on Ash Wednesday. Traditional pre-Lenten foods consumed on Fat Tuesday include pancakes, doughnuts and pastries. Different parts of the world may have different takes on these foods. For example, the Portuguese have a type of doughnut known as a malasada, which is a rounded ball of fried dough dusted with sugar, while the Polish make a type of doughnut known as a paczki, which is also rounded in shape but is filled with jelly and either glazed or dusted with powdered sugar.

Traditional Fat Tuesday foods tend to be either fatty and meaty or sweet and starchy in nature. This trend marks a sense of indulgence in foods that will become forbidden during Lent. For example, Iceland's version of Fat Tuesday, known as Sprengidagur, or Bursting Day, usually includes a feast of salted lamb. Pastries are an internationally popular treat for this holiday, and they come in many different forms, from king cake, which is popular in American states that observe Mardi Gras, to the papanasi of Romania, which are cottage cheese dumplings made of sugar and cheese.