Key Points:

Lengthy queues formed outside bakeries across Poland yesterday as residents stocked up on traditional doughnuts.

Fat Thursday, as the doughnut-eating day is known, marks the beginning of the last week of the carnival season and is a long-observed tradition in Poland.

In six days' time Lent - the Christian period of fasting - begins, and for residents of the predominantly Catholic country that means no more sweet treats until Easter.

"It a great excuse to eat as many doughnuts as you want," Marzena, a Warsaw lawyer, told AFP.

Unlike holey American doughnuts, Polish "paczki" - pronounced "ponch-key" - are formed into balls and filled with jam before being deep fried and glazed with icing sugar.

- NZ HERALD STAFF