Posted: 02/12/2021

Fasnacht Day in Lancaster, PA

The story of this Tuesday Tradition

Fasnacht Day in Lancaster, PA

Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday… All are names for the day before the first day of Lent. Here in Lancaster County, we celebrate this Tuesday with FASNACHTS, delightful treats that aren’t your run-of-the-mill doughnut.

Fasnacht translates into "fast night" in English which helps to explain the origins of this tradition. It stems from the need to use up the lard, sugar, butter and eggs prior to the beginning of Lent since these lavish items were typically given up. Not to be confused with a standard glazed or powdered sugar doughnut, many fasnachts are made with mashed potatoes and fried in animal fat making them less sweet, but extra delicious! Traditionally, they are square in shape, with no hole, filling, frosting or sprinkles.

Growing up in Lancaster County, I fondly remember the days of coming home from school to see a box of fasnachts on the kitchen counter, never really understanding the rhyme and reason behind them. Now, much like pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day, this is a tradition I can’t pass up. I stopped by Lancaster Central Market on my way in to work for my fasnacht from one of the bakery stands who were displaying rows and rows of fried perfection. It was just as delicious as I remember - slightly crispy on the outside with a fluffy center. I prefer ones rolled in powdered sugar, but am sure other variations are just as tasty.

Bakeries and churches across the county will be making fasnachts for the occasion including Oregon Dairy, Achenbach’s Pastry, Bird-in-Hand Bakery and Shady Maple.

Want to get your fasnachts on the go? Bird-in-Hand Bakery and Cafe hosts their Fasnacht Day drive-thru tent February 15th 3pm -6pm & 16th 6am -9am for a quick donut pit stop. Tents are located at the Bakery (2715 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand), and near the Lancaster Shopping Center on Route 501.

Oregon Diary is back again for their Famous Fasnachts Day Drive-Thru from 5:30am – 10am on Tuesday, February 16th. Choose from Plain, Powdered, Glazed or Sugar Fasnachts in Dozen, Half Dozen, and Individual. Drive-thru is held under the carport – no need get our of your vehicle. Pay by cash or card!

Stop by and try one for yourself! Happy Fasnacht Day!