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Paczki Day and Fat Tuesday

From Nicole Bradley,
Your Guide to Detroit Metro Area.
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A Detroit Tradition

Fat Tuesday is the literal English translation for “Mardi Gras” – the huge festival that New Orleans, Louisiana is famous for. The fun starts on January 6 which is the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany and continue on until the big finale on the day before Ash Wednesday. Fat Tuesday is named such because partying involves eating anything and everything in sight in preparation for the long season of fasting for Christians. Partying continues on until the stroke of Midnight, the official beginning of Lent.

New Orleans isn’t the only city that celebrates Fat Tuesday. Detroit has a lot of fun, every year, on this last day before lent. In Detroit, Fat Tuesday is better known as Paczki Day.

What is a paczki?

A paczki (pronounced “Poonch-key”) is a Polish donut. It uses a richer batter than traditional donuts. These donuts are traditionally filled with raspberry or prune filling although a huge variety of other fillings are now available. Hamtramck, a small Polish city within Detroit, is where the authentic Polish bakeries are located and thousands of metro Detroiters travel to Hamtramck every year on Fat Tuesday to indulge. In Detroit, Fat Tuesday is so named for the oil and shortening found in paczkis that Christian Poles so often give up for Lent.

Paczki Day is a Polish Holiday and was essentially unknown to the greater Detroit area until the 80’s when the media first started covering this day and, more aptly, the yummy Polish treats. Now it seems like everyone is Polish on Paczki Day! It’s become a Detroit tradition, regardless of ethnic origin.

If you want to pick up a dozen paczkis for your family or office, you can get them at any authentic Polish bakery. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the paczkis offered up at your local donut franchise or grocer is the real thing. These aren’t just any jelly-filled donuts. You can put in advance orders with most bakeries. If you wait until Paczki Day to pick up your donuts, be prepared for a possible line!

Local Polish Bakeries include:

  • New Deluxe Polish Bakery
    11920 Conant
  • New Martha Washington Bakery
    10335 Joseph Campau
  • New Palace Bakery
    9833 Joseph Campau
  • New Polka Bakery
    9834 Conant
  • Oaza Bakery and Deli
    11815 Joseph Campau
  • Polish Deli and Bakery
    12015 Joseph Campau

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