A long time ago, I asked my mother-in-law
"Why is today called "Fat Tuesday" or "Mardi Gras" "?
According to my mother-in-law, years ago, if you were Catholic, the rule of 'no more meat during Lent' would start. Therefore, housewives who cooked with lard, which comes from meat, could not use lard for the next 40 days.
So that their lard did not go to waste, they made a batter for donuts and fried their donuts in what lard was left. God forbid you ever wasted anything!
So if my m-i-l was alive today, she would make her punchkies/donuts and we would all go visit and stuff ourselves with her donuts.