(Suzette Wenger/Staff file photo) courtesy of Lancaster Online
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Happy Fasnacht Day!
It's Fasnacht Day here in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Some of you may know good and well exactly what I'm talking about. . . DONUTS! Wait, let me back up. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the austere Lenten season. While many Catholic cultures get ready for Lent with a Mardi Gras celebration that may last for days, also known as Carnivale, in truth Mardi Gras translates from French to Fat Tuesday.
During Mardi Gras people may celebrate by wearing masks, partying, and trying to turn society upside down.
However for the Pennsylvania German (aka Pennsylvania Dutch) settlers of this region, the time period before Lent, in this case just Tuesday, has always been a day to indulge in all the goodies one might have to abstain from during Lent itself. For previous generations that meant using up all their lard and sugar, and so they spent the day making delicious deep-fried pastries similar to donuts.
True PA Dutch folk will tell you there's a difference between a fasnacht and a donut from a traditional type of donut chain store. Fasnachts have a thick dough, often do not have a hole in the center, and are only dressed with sugar, powdered sugar, or glaze.
And they are incredible. I remember as a pre-teen going to my "Y-Teens" meetings after school to make fasnachts the week of Ash Wednesday. It was always a favorite among my friends and me because all we had to do was wait for them to get cool enough to eat without burning our mouths. The only thing better than a fasnacht is a warm fasnacht.
Obviously Wiley thoroughly enjoyed both donuts I got him for the occasion. I cannot tell you how hard it was to get him to sit without eating the blue donut. And the white one never stood a chance. BOL.
As you can see, they aren't real donuts, just doggie treats decorated like donuts. In this picture, I realize he is blurry, but that spider-webby thing coming from his mouth is actually drool. I was snapping pictures and I saw the drool drip down. I later realized that it looked pretty funky with the light shining through it.
Anyway that's pretty much the same way I respond to fasnachts as well. I hope all my readers get to indulge a bit today even if they don't share the beliefs of the season. Most cultures have times of celebration paired with times of sacrifice. Practiced together they help us appreciate all the blessings we have.
Happy Fasnacht Day!
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