Fasnacht

Fasnachts are ready for pickup at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Columbia.

Fasnacht Day is quickly approaching. March 5 is the one day this year where Lancaster County will collectively celebrate a doughnut-related holiday.

While they're often described as "little puffs of pillowy goodness," a few questions remain. The first of which being: What exactly is a fasnacht?

Often misspelled as "fastnacht" and "fassnacht," the word fasnacht itself is German, coming from the words "fasten" (to fast), and "nacht" (night). Fasnacht Day is always celebrated on Shrove Tuesday -- the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

Traditionally, in Christian denominations that observe Lent, Shrove Tuesday was meant as a means of celebrating with indulgent foods, using up one's remaining sugar and lard, before fasting season. Shrove Tuesday is also known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras.

Fasnachts -- or sugar and lard-laden doughnuts -- do just the trick.

While some people enjoy fasnachts in all their glory, without toppings, most people who celebrate Fasnacht Day often enjoy their indulgent doughnuts with toppings like powdered sugar and glaze, or filled with custards or creams.

In the past, we've written about other ways you can flavor your favorite doughnut tradition.