Paczki Day, celebrated the Thursday in the week before Ash Wednesday, is the perfect excuse (as if we needed one) to eat the famous and delicious Polish pastry. This year, it takes place on February 16. Similar to a donut, Paczki is a sugary pastry that combines glossy dough with a delicious fruit filling. They’re known as a dessert that gets more-or-less splurged around lent, but Paczki Day isn’t just about the pastries alone. Let’s learn what makes this day so special.
HISTORY OF PACZKI DAY
To most Polish Americans, Paczki Day means making a ton of Paczki and binge-eating them in the company of family and friends. This day is celebrated before Lent. Since Lent is a time of sacrifice, Paczki was created to use up a household’s supplies of things that the family wouldn’t be able to eat during Lenten fasting. This included lard, sugar, eggs, and more. It was a day for people to fill up on all the goodness they’d have to give up for the next month.
In America, Paczki Day is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday (also known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras). However, in Poland, Paczki was made and purchased the most on Fat Thursday, which is the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. Paczki Day is also celebrated on Fat Thursday in some cultures because it marks the start of the final week before Lent. But either way, a lot of Paczki are made and enjoyed by many Polish people on either day.
This tradition is unique since it dates back to at least the Middle Ages. That means Paczki recipes have been around for a long time. But, just like traditions themselves, the recipes have evolved as time has gone on. Modern versions of paczki are filled with custard or cream, and some are even covered with glaze or sprinkles. Some well-known modern flavors include lemon, Nutella, and strawberry.
HOW TO CELEBRATE
1.Learn how to make Paczki!
When it comes to days about food, the best way to celebrate is to try it yourself. Whether you’re Polish or not, and whether you participate in Lent or not, you can still enjoy the delicious taste of paczki. Besides, it’s fun to learn a new recipe.
2.Share it with your loved ones
Just like the regular tradition, Paczki Day is meant to be celebrated with friends and family. If you want a taste of the true Paczki Day experience, you should enjoy paczki with people you care about.
3.Find a local Paczki Day event to attend
Especially if you live near or in a city, you’ll be able to find a Paczki Day event to attend. Many bakeries will sell these treats around the time of Paczki Day, and European markets will have something special going on. Round up your friends and hit up your local Paczki Day event to get the true experience.
WHY WE LOVE PACZKI DAY
A. They’re rooted deep in history
Not only are they delicious, but paczki has such a unique cultural and religious history that makes them stand out. Knowing they’ve been around since the Middle Ages and seeing how recipes have changed is very cool. Besides, for a dessert to have an entire day dedicated to eating them must mean they’re pretty special.
B. They bring people together
As we said, Paczki Day is all about eating these delicious treats with your loved ones before Lenten fasting. It’s awesome that one dessert can be part of the reason that families come together to enjoy each other’s company.
C. There are so many different kinds to try
The awesome thing about paczki is that there isn’t just one type. As the original recipe has changed so much since it was invented years ago, each paczki from every baker will be unique, meaning each offers its own experience. From lemon, apple, blueberry, raspberry, Bavarian cream, and many others, there are so many paczki recipes and flavors to try.
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