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Mardi Gras By Any Other Name is Paczki Day

Paczki Day

What can be wrong with a day that celebrates with donut-like pastries?

Mardi Gras may not be my thing, but I’m all about a day that’s all about donuts. Besides being Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent is also known as Packzi Day in which a special Polish donut-like pasty is traditionally eaten.

My daughter has come to love the cake that goes with birthdays (and the cake that goes with any other day of the year, if she had her way), the chocolates that go with Valentine’s Day, the cookies that go with Christmas and the candy that goes with Halloween. I have no doubt the Paczki donut tradition will fast become a favorite with her, too, as they are just like donuts, only made with more eggs, butter, sugar and filling. What could be wrong with that?

Paczki Day is the feast of plenty and the last day of gaiety in Karnawal time (the period between Christmas and Lent) before the Lenten fast begins, and is celebrated in the American-Polish community.

Until the 16th century, paczki were made with bread dough and filled with cracklings, lard and bacon, which might not have been as sweet, but it’s still strangely appealing to me in a savory kind of way. People celebrating Packzi Day in Poland today will consume massive quantities of herring and vodka. The former doesn’t appeal to me, but a holiday that promotes the consumption of vodka? This day keeps getting better.

Are you about the King Cake or the Paczki today?

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