GVSU, Grand Rapids prepares for Fat Tuesday celebration

Jackie Smith

Are you ready for a Pazcki? Lucky for you, Fat Tuesday is almost here.

Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, is traditionally a “last hurrah” before Lent, and fasting, begins, according to AmericanCatholic.org.

Many different cultures have their own way of celebrating the time before Lent – take Mardi Gras, a raucous celebration that stops abruptly at midnight on Fat Tuesday, for example. Many people in Mich. however, are more accustomed to a Fat Tuesday celebrated with a sweet treat. The Pazcki, a deep-fried treat similar to a jelly doughnut, is prevalent this time of year due to the high population of people with Polish heritage.

Eric Tetsworth, President of the Grand Valley State University’s Klub Polski explained why Pazckis are made in the first place.

“Pazckis are made because of the coming fasting for Lent,” Tetswoth said. “Traditionally, people should not eat or drink anything pleasurable for this time of fasting.”

Although Tetsworth said that the Polish Club will not be doing anything for Fat Tuesday with the public, the members of the club will definitely be celebrating together.

“We will most likely have a party where we eat and celebrate, while serving pierogi dumplings and pazckis to go along with tradition,” Tetsworth said.

Eva Lewak, Advisor of the Polish Club said her class will be celebrating with pazckis at the end of the 5 p.m. lesson on Tuesday, in MAK Hall B1128. Any students that would like to join are welcome.

In Poland, starting on what is called the Three King’s Holiday, Jan. 6, people in Poland celebrate the last day of the Polish Carnival, Lewak said. People dress up in 16th-century costumes and dance until midnight.

Pazckis are served because it is the last day to indulge in good food until Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent, Lewak said. Traditionally, each person must eat at least one pazcki because it is a sign of prosperity in the future.

Although many Michiganders are of Polish descent, many do not know much about Polish tradition, or the meaning of pazckis, Lewak said.

“I hope we can invite more students to come to our classroom and have fun, and learn our traditions,” Lewak said.

Lewak’s classroom is not the only place that will be celebrating Fat Tuesday, many places in the Grand Rapids area will be hosting events as well.

The Grand Rapids non-profit group The Arena District is planning a night of music, food, contests, and drink specials for its Mardi Gras celebration, with events to be held at 12 downtown locations.

The locations will include The B.O.B., Rockwell/Republic, McFaddens, HopCat, Stella’s Lounge, City Flats Hotel’s CityS?n Lounge, Louis Benton’s LB’s Lounge, and the new Grand Rapids Brewing Co., according to The Arena District’s website.

“The celebration is geared to bring downtown together and encourage partakers to visit various venues throughout the evening.”

The Arena District’s Mardi Gras celebration will run from 6-10 p.m. on Feb. 12.

For more information about GVSU’s Klub Polski, visit their Facebook page.

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