Lengthy queues grew in front of pastry shops in Warsaw on "Fat Thursday" as Poles bought-up lip-smacking, plump traditional Polish "paczki" ahead of the Christian period of Lent.
"It a great excuse to eat as many doughnuts as you want," Marzena, 31, told AFP.
Advertisement"Ten isn't too many today," said Marzena, a Warsaw lawyer who declined to give her surname.
She had been waiting for well over an hour in a 200-person queue in front of a popular shop in the city's swish central Nowy Swiat shopping street.
"It's a very pleasant tradition - but you can't exaggerate and eat to many or there will be serious consequences," said 70-year-old optician Wojtek, adding that queuing on Fat Thursday was a "family tradition."
Instead of having holes in the middle like their North American cousins, Polish "paczki" -- pronounced "ponch-key" -- are ball-like affairs, filled with jam made from wild cherries or rose petals.
Deep-fried in lard and bursting with calories, their light and spongy inside oozes jam, while the crisp golden crust is glazed with icing sugar and candied orange rinds.
Sales of the sweets boom on Fat Thursday -- "Tlusty Czwartek" in Polish -- marking the beginning of the last week of the merry Carnival season prior to the Christian period of Lent or fasting, ahead of the Easter holiday.
Statistics show the average Pole eats around 2.5 doughnuts on Fat Thursday, translating into more than 500 calories.