Paczki Day in Pure Michigan

Tomorrow, Americans celebrate Paczki Day (aka “Fat Tuesday”), where many will indulge in the traditional polish pastry. In Michigan – and Hamtramck specifically – the celebration is especially vibrant. In fact, Hamtramck says they are the “home of the original Pączki – everything else is just a jelly donut!”

To learn more about paczki (pronounced pooonch-key), our friends at the Polish Art Center in Hamtramck shared some fun facts with us.  

  • In Poland, paczki are eaten especially on Fat Thursday (the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday). This year it was February 7th.
  • Polish Americans celebrate Paczki Day on Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). This year it is tomorrow, February 12th.
  • Hamtramckans start celebrating on Saturday between the two with a Countdown to Paczki Day Festival. This year’s celebrations began this past weekend.
  • Traditionally, the reason for making paczki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because they were forbidden to be consumed due to Catholic fasting practices during Lent.
  • Paczki have been known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages.  During the reign of August III, under the influence of French cooks who came to Poland, paczki dough was improved, so that paczki became lighter, spongier, and more resilient.
  • Paczki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing or bits of dried orange zest. A small amount of grain alcohol (traditionally, Spiritus) is added to the dough before cooking; as it evaporates, it prevents the absorption of oil deep into the dough.

To learn about the Polish Art Center in Hamtramck, visit

Will you be having a paczki tomorrow? Let us know where you get one from!

17 thoughts on “Paczki Day in Pure Michigan

  1. I live Sault Ste. Marie, MI and the only place to get a paczcki i sat the Wal-mart bakery. Going across the Internatinal Bridge to Sault Ste. Marie, ON to a Tim Hortons would a better option. They would be more tasty but most costly after calculating bridge toll into the cost.

  2. Hey there! I’ve been following your weblog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the great job!

  3. After a long phone talk with my local friend here on Tuesday and wishing I could get her some, we happened to shop together last night at our local Kroger derivative and they had some!!! They are very yummy…wish I could buy more… But alas, I am fat enough ;). Friend used to I’ve in MI! So glad we found these for her!

  4. @Greene_DM Much better than the first, now that I’m all settled in! I’d love to meet up sometime; I’m just two floors down from Katie.

  5. @jvitak ah good ;) ! How’s your second term at UMD going? Sorry I haven’t said hi yet. Need to meet w/ Katie S. soon, will try to drop by.

  6. @Greene_DM Considering (1) I don’t live in Midwest anymore & (2) I’m also Irish, I don’t think you have anything to be jealous of me for. :)

  7. @DiscourseMarker Probably. They’re Polish in origin, so I guess you’d have to look where in the Midwest they tended to settle.

  8. @jvitak Maybe more like upper-midwest? I never heard of this when I lived in St. Louis, but did see somebody from MN tweeting about them.

  9. Paczki’s should be available everywhere.  I grew up in Michigan and now live in California.  I want Paczki’s too.  This is one of the things I miss most about Michigan.

  10. If you live in West Michigan we have your Paczki needs covered! We have traditional prune filled ones and 9 other great fillings to choose from! See you tomorrow!!!

  11. @PureMichigan fat tuesday is like having home owners ins with michigan insuranse co, they get fat profit you suffer the results, buying it

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