It’s Fasnacht Day!

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and although I didn’t grow up in a Lent-observing family, we religiously celebrated the day immediately preceding. It’s Fasnacht Day!

Ash Wednesday is observed by many Christian traditions as the first day of Lent, a forty-day season of fasting and prayer leading into Easter. To prepare for the fast and use up forbidden foodstuffs, Westerners traditionally party. They call the day Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (literally, Fat Tuesday), and many indulge in immoderate Carnival celebrations. The Pennsylvania Dutch, an Amish sect, are more reserved; they cook fasnachts.

Emptying their pantries of the forbidden lard, sugar, fat, and butter, they produce tiny slices of heaven. Much like doughnuts, fasnachts were served with our school lunches when I was a kid, and mom even made them herself some years.

Having missed my shot at Dutchy pork and sauerkraut this past New Year’s Day, it’s my duty as a southeastern Pennsylvanian to consume a few fasnachts today. This burden is mine to bear. Happy Fasnacht Day everyone!


~ by shad on February 24, 2009.

3 Responses to “It’s Fasnacht Day!”

  1. do you dip them in molassas? Thats what we used to do at my great aunts. I even remember the year we got out of school to make fastnachts. Is there anything better than being able to say, “I can’t go to school today because I have to eat doughnuts!”

  2. Hooray for fasnachts! I just made a whole batch – my first attempt ever – using my great-grandmother’s recipe. I’ll join you in the burden of eating doughnuts 🙂

  3. OK…so I surprisingly stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago as I was looking for churches back in the southern PA area, and have checked back in to read about life and other thoughts from PA. But today, I too was recalling fastnacht days of the past, and actually made them with my class in DC. They were so happy (as I was) to dip the yummy, warm creations into a vat of powdered sugar. Hope you’re well!

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