In Poland, Shrove Thursday is known as Tłusty Czwartek and it's on this day that pączki are eaten with abandon.
Naleśniki, thin crepe-like pancakes, and angel wings known as chrusciki ("little twigs") or faworki (little favors reminiscent of ribbons knights gave to their ladies fair), and rozie karnawalowe or carnival rosettes are also enjoyed.
On Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras or Ostatki (also known as Śledziówka), pickled herrings and vodka are consumed in great quantities in Poland. But in the States, this is the day Americans reserve for their Polish doughnut eating, calling it Pączki Day.
American bakeries started selling pączki weeks ago and will continue all through Lent until Easter and beyond. In Warsaw at A. Blikle bakery and other cukiernia throughout the country, there are long lines waiting for a pączek.
Orthodox Christians don't celebrate Shrove Tuesday. Instead, Cheesefare Sunday, which this year is on March 2, will be the last chance to eat dairy products (Feb. 23 was Meatfare Sunday when it was the last chance to eat meat products) before the Great Lent begins for them on Clean Monday, on March 3 in 2014.
Sign up for the Eastern European Food newsletter
Check out the Eastern European Food forums
Follow me on Twitter
Friend me on Facebook