Pączki Day: When Is It, What Does It Mean, And Where to Get Yours in Dearborn

Pączki, in any language, means delicious.

If you observe Lent, then you're likely getting ready for Feb. 13—Ash Wednesday and the beginning of 40 days of fasting, or the very least, giving up sweets until Easter.

The little time left—called Mardi Gras, Carnival, Carnevale or Fasnacht in parts of the world—will be celebrated with partying and indulgence until the last second of Fat Tuesday, which ends at midnight Feb. 12.

A Polish tradition is to celebrate the last six days of Carnival, known as zapusty, beginning on Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek) when pączki (fried doughnuts) are eaten.

Grab a great pączki? Post a photo by clicking on the "Upload Photos and Video" button and tell us where you got it from.

And whether or not their reasons are based in religion, millions of people will partake in the tradition of getting their pączki on Fat Tuesday or Pączki Day, Feb. 12.

In Dearborn, you can find them at a variety of locations, including:

  • Donutville USA
  • Iversen's Bakery Express
  • Bartz Bakery
  • Monroe Bakery and Delicatessen
  • Yum Yum Donuts

The pronunciation varies. Some say POHNCH-kee; Americans generally say POONCH-kee. Singular is pączek, pronounced POHNCH-ek. Whichever way you say it, the bakery sales clerk will understand what you want.

The baking and consumption of paczki began as a practical matter. Pączki were made as a way to use up the lard and eggs which were prohibited during the ancient observance of Lent. Now, they’re more of a last-minute binge on sweets before the sacrifice begins.

Pączki is Polish for “little package.” And what sweet packages they are.

For a recipe, click here.

And to get an inside look at how Dearborn's Donutville USA prepares for Fat Tuesday, click here.

Keith Otis Edwards February 13, 2013 at 06:07 AM
I have doubts that the bakeries you listed offer real pączki. Pączki are not just jelly doughnuts, because they use a heavy dough with extra egg yolks. The dough is made especially dense, because after it rises, the gas is beaten out -- ideally beaten and allowed to rise again three times. Traditional pączki do not contain the sugary jellies usually found in jelly doughnuts. Instead, they are supposed to be plain or filled with powidła -- prune butter. The best pączki I have found locally are from Sister's Cakery, 15730 West Warren, two blocks west of Greenfield. Everyone else is lining up for sugary jelly doughnuts.


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