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 michigan.org.

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