Fasnacht Day is a holiday that we celebrate on the Tuesday in the seventh week before Easter and this year, it falls on February 13. It originated in Germany and is a Pennsylvanian Dutch celebration held a day before Ash Wednesday. As a tradition, Germans indulge in delicious doughnut pastries before the Lenten fast, a period of fasting observed by Catholics and Protestants. This practice gave rise to the name Fasnacht, which means “The night before Lent begins.” These pastries are prepared in three different ways. Although they are similar to regular doughnuts, their preparation method makes them less sweet. Fasnacht can also be spelled in many ways, including ‘Fastnacht,’ ‘Fassenacht,’ and ‘Faschnacht.’ Are you ready to celebrate this yummy holiday?
History of Fasnacht Day
Although Fasnacht Day has unclear origins, the earliest records of the celebration stem from the 1200s. It is said that the festival originated in Mainz and Speyer, Germany. The celebration began not only as a feast for the pre-Lenten season but as a parody of daily life activities, like giving women the opportunity to rule. Fasnacht Day is a deep-rooted German tradition celebrated on the Tuesday before Lent begins. So, before the start of Lent, Germans would use up ingredients like butter, sugar, and lard to make Fastnacht as they would soon forfeit these foods during Lent.
As time went on, preparing Fasnacht changed from using potatoes to using baking powder or yeast. The pastry resembles a doughnut without a hole in the middle and is often shaped into squares. The traditional way to eat this pastry is by slicing it in half, spreading butter on one half, and topping it off with maple syrup to be consumed as a sandwich. These delectable treats can be eaten plain or covered in a glaze, cinnamon, or even powdered sugar, according to the preference of their consumer.
Fasnacht Day depends on the day of Easter and Ash Wednesday. The celebrations also vary annually due to the Spring Equinox. And while this treat originates in Germany, it is now a popular part of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture. All we know is it makes our mouths water! What about yours?
Fasnacht Day timeline
The Fasnacht Day celebration originates in Germany.
The Carnival of Basel, also known as the Fasnacht Carnival, is one of the biggest European festivals celebrated in Switzerland.
The Fasnacht celebration finds its way to New Orleans, U.S, courtesy of French explorers Pierre Le Moyne D’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville.
Details of the Fasnacht celebration are included in the book “Easterside in Pennsylvania” by Dr. Alfred Shoemaker.
The Fasnacht Committee is established to address all questions and concerns regarding Fasnacht Day.
Fasnacht Day FAQs
What does Fasnacht Day represent?
It represents an entire season of festivities leading up to Shrove Tuesday.
What is the Fasnacht Parade?
It is another name for the Carnival of Basel, the biggest carnival in Switzerland.
What other names does Fasnacht Day go by?
Fasnacht Day is also known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or Shrove Tuesday.
Fasnacht Day Activities
Celebrate Fastnacht using recipes online
Is there anything better than homemade treats? Many websites have a list of recipes you can follow to make Fasnacht at home on Fasnacht Day.
Treat yourself from a local bakery
You do not have to be an expert in making pastries to enjoy Fasnacht Day. Head on over to a local bakery and treat yourself to a couple of Fasnachts on Fasnacht Day.
Share pictures and use hashtags
You can participate in the Fasnacht Day celebrations by sharing pictures of the pastry on social media. Use hashtags such as #HappyFasnachtDay.
5 Interesting Facts About Fastnachts
Fastnachts are affordable
Fastnacht doughnuts are very affordable and are sold for as low as $5 for half a dozen.
Fasnacht Day is also known as “Fat Tuesday,” as Germans consider it a day to pig out before Lent begins.
The original Fastnacht pastry is a potato-based fluffy pastry deep-fried in lard.
Not all Fastnachts are squares
Fastnacht doughnuts come in various shapes and sizes, including round and triangular ones.
The word ‘Fasnacht’ can be directly translated to ‘Fasting Night.’
Why We Love Fasnacht Day
Everyone loves doughnuts
We haven’t met a person who doesn’t like doughnuts. They come with various toppings and, Fastnachts are no exception.
It’s a day of indulgence
Everyone also loves a good cheat day. And although daily consumption of doughnuts is not healthy, Fasnacht Day allows for one day of indulgence.
It preserves tradition
It is so important for us to pass on traditions to future generations. Fasnacht Day is a German tradition, and its annual celebration helps keep that tradition alive.
Fasnacht Day dates