Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Happy Fasnacht Day!
In good Pennsylvania Dutch fashion, my mom made doughnuts today. A tradition rooted in my Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. For those of you not familiar with this tradition, fasnacht's day is observed the day before Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent. This day goes by many monikers. New Orleans has Mardi Gras and today is Fat Tuesday. While living in Germany, we celebrated Fasching and Karneval and there are several other names as well.
Unlike many other pre-lent celebrations, Fasnachts day is limited to a single day and literally means "eve of the fast". The potato based doughnuts that were made are also known as fasnachts. The fasnachts were made to use up fat, lard, and sugars before the Lent fasting period when no sweets were eaten.
My dad is from a Mennonite family. I remember as a small child watching my grandmother make fasnachts. By the time she finished, her whole large kitchen table was covered with doughnuts. Then we all ate as many fasnachts as we could hold. As a child it was a day that I looked forward to only second to Christmas.
My mother has carried on this tradition. Yeah! I ate three, today!