Excess & Sacrifice: Paczki Day + Top Ten Things People Are Giving Up for Lent in 2015

Excess and sacrifice–two polar opposites that enjoy global popularity this week. I find this both personally and culturally fascinating. How better to explore this than in a list?

“Top Ten Tuesday” is BACK! You know I can’t resist a holiday, readers. And while, yes, today is Mardi Gras, as well as Pączki Day (OK I may or may not have celebrated the latter but I couldn’t help it because someone brought in a huge box of fresh delicious pązki and I’m Polish and it’s in my blood to require them for sustenance on such a day, and, and…)
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Let me help you with those…

Ahem. While today is both of those holidays, it is also the last day before Lent for Catholics. And, actually, my personal resolution is directly related to Pączki Day–a last hurrah, if you will–which is exactly what it was designed to be.

The specific pązcki in question was sweet-cheese-filled with vanilla frosting. (In recollection of Pączki Days past, our friend described his personal encounter with the traditional rosehip-flavored type, which was an acquired taste, and a floral shock to his raspberry expectations. I was thankful only to be pleasantly surprised today.)

In slightly related news, our dad randomly found gourmet fudge today in the trunk from our parents’ recent trip to Wisconsin. We deemed it a Lenten miracle and gobbled it up before midnight.

Midnight, of course, marked the beginning of Lent. Personally, I find the tradition of minor sacrifice enlightening about myself. How hard is it for me to give something small up, versus someone who gave up everything? What about people who live in poverty and have nothing to give up? Interestingly, many religions (and even non-religious causes) practice similar self-deprivation to promote awareness. So, in addition to being a reminder and practice of my own religion, I find the tradition to be beneficial in many ways.

One of these ways is my health. Every year around this time, my stomach breathes a sigh of relief (and my sweet teeth–for they are, all of them, sweet–sob) for forty days.

My standard is to give up sweets. It is both difficult (sweet tooth x 32) and easy–it’s fairly easy to eat around them.

Then I wondered–what do most people give up? I’ve read of people giving up sleeping in beds and doing major fasting during this time. But what’s the norm? Obviously, Twitter has the answer. OpenBible decided to index the top Lenten sacrifices users posted on Twitter, ranging from silly to serious. It’s an interesting sociological examination:

The project, now entering its sixth year, pulls from the Twitter firehose to index mentions of Lent and various iterations of the phrase “giving up.” It’s the brainchild of Biblical Web guru Stephen Smith, who in his day job runs engineering for the massive Christian site BibleGateway.com. The list updates every 10 minutes, so it’s apt to change. —Caitlin Dewey, The Washington Post

Without further ado, I present:

Top 10 Things Given Up for Lent 2015

(34,520 Tweets During the Week of February 15, 2015)

Rank What Number of Tweets
1. twitter 1,568
2. social networking 1,429
3. chocolate 1,418
4. school 1,035
5. alcohol 1,024
6. soda 635
7. sweets 619
8. swearing 609
9. fast food 585
10. coffee 416

Interesting, no? #1 and #2–ironic or sarcastic? #4–obviously a joke. All the rest? I believe them. Add me to #7–make that 620 tweets. 🙂

How about you, dear readers? Do you practice Lent or any other type of deprivation/sacrifice–what, if anything, do you think it tells us? What do/would you give up?
Food for thought–since that’s the only consumption of sweets I’ll be allowing myself till Easter. 😉 😥

7 thoughts on “Excess & Sacrifice: Paczki Day + Top Ten Things People Are Giving Up for Lent in 2015

  1. I am so sad that I missed Mardi Gras again this year. As a native of Louisiana, it gets me all excited, and I have a hard time even explaining it to people over here in Japan. “Well, we put this baby in a cake, and then…” Hahaha.

    I’ve never practiced lent. I try and school my addictions as I notice them. I have been known to give up video games, or my credit card (ha!) for about that length of time. 😛


    • That is so neat to hear from a Louisiana native away from home! I’ve never experienced any sort of Mardi Gras revelry, aside from wearing unearned beads. 😉 I think it would be neat to celebrate it in some way! Do you have any traditions with family/friends to celebrate?
      Good for your on limiting your addictions! I try, too, but I am best at committing to addiction-abstinence during Lent! It ups the stakes when it’s not just me I’d be letting down. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yum those pazcki sure looked yummy. That sweet tooth in case you didn’t know it already comes from me! Just one of the many bad habit things I passed along 😟. Thanks for sharing an interesting and yummy post! I will join you in Lent fashion and give up chocolate.


    • Haha, I’ll take your bad habits, if that means getting any of your good ones! 😉
      Thanks so much–I’m glad you found it interesting! Good for you on the chocolate, and good luck! Thanks for sharing!


  3. This is a hilarious post! What a good sport you are to shoulder so well what has been passed to you genetically! hahaha! I wished I had known of the Sunday dispensation – all these years I didn’t know! I am giving up chocolate and sweets which I have already cut back drastically. For me it’s better to go completely without it……. I do miss the Paczki! It’s been much too long to go on just a memory of it – may be time to get reacquainted at the proper time!


    • Well, thank you! 🙂 I’ll take whatever inconvenient traits I get, if it means I get any of the good ones! 🙂
      Congrats on your Lenten resolution, and good luck! I do love paczkis! Maybe next year we can both resolve to enjoy one, without guilt! 🙂


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