Believe it or not, it’s Karnawał season right now. That’s the time between the start of the year and the beginning of Lent, when Poles shake off the cold, grey days with nights of dancing and partying.
But like all good things, Karnawał must come to an end, and the end is when Lent arrives. This is marked by the arrival of Ash Wednesday (Popielec), which this year falls on February 13.
If you plan to make the most of the last week or so before the big fast begins, here are the dates that you need to look out for in Poland.
First up, it’s Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek), on February 7. This is a great excuse to go a whole day eating nothing but doughnuts stuffed with rose jam. These are called pączki.
Then, on February 12, Śledzik – Herring Day. Brits in particular might do a double take at this, as they will have grown up with the tradition that Shrove Tuesday – Pancake Day – comes before Ash Wednesday. Nevertheless, you’re in Poland now. Take advantage of the fact to discover one of the many ways of preparing herring (above), and if you aren’t already, you’ll probably be a fan of these dishes come February 13. Which is a shame, as you’re not going to be allowed to eat or do fun stuff from then until Easter.
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