Paczki's (Pounchki) Day; Delicious Food for Fat Thursday &Tuesday

Poles celebrate the time of a carnival with balls and dances. The culmination of a carnival is a last week before Ash Wednesday. Poles do not organize street parades like people in Brazil or in New Orleans. I guess it is just too cold in winter. But they eat pounchki ( pounczki ). The other sweet food for the last days of carnival include Angel Wings, Chrusciki (Chruschiki) and Poppy seed rolls ( Makowiec ).
These Polish doughnuts are very popular in Poland and traditionally eaten on Shrove Thursday and Tuesday and at midnight on St. Silvester's Day (New Year's Eve). Pounczki are also eaten on parties, during birthdays and in many other special occasions.

Strictly speaking Thursday is a Pounchki day and Tuesday is a Sledziowka day. Read more below:

The Thursday before Ash Wednesday is celebrated as Fat Thursday - Tlusty Czwartek . On this is the day when you forget about your diet and eat mountains of donuts (paczki) and all the other things fat, greasy, sweet, full of cholesterol, generally unhealthy, and mmmmm.... delicious.

The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is known as Herring Day called in Polish, Ostatki or Sledziowka. On this day you party as much as you can (the last day before the Lent) and traditionally, you eat a lot of herrings (yummy).
Read also about Herring with Potatoes for Ash Wednesday


Ponnchki are like doughnuts for Americans. The name "pounchek" (paczek) comes from the shape of this Polish doughnut. Pounchek is round, fresh like a bud of a flower (in Polish bud is "pak" and small bud: "pounchek"). The plural from Polish "paczek" is "paczki". It should be pronounced "pounchki". Therefore many Polish communities have so called Pączki's (Pounchki) Days.

To see Polish characters; in Netscape go to "View", then choose encoding Central European ISO-8859-2 or Windows; in IE go to "view", then "Encoding", choose: Central European ISO or Windows.

The best pounchki are fresh from the Polish bakery. It is hard to obtain such dough quality (very soft) by doing it at home. The most famous are pounchki with the filling from rose marmalade. The marmalade is done from the crushed pellets or buds of roses with sugar. Only certain types of roses are suitable for it. If you would like to try to prepare pounchki or at least to know how to do it please check out our recipe - Paczki (pounchki, punchki) Recipe.

If pounchki are too difficult to prepare try another delicious food much easier to prepare - Chrusciki (Chruschiki) or Faworki. After Carnival a Lent is coming - please read our recipe for delicious Herrings with Potatoes for Ash Wednesday.

written by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn, 2 March 2003 (article #88), revised in February 2004
The credit for this article goes also to Karol and Bob



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Share your love of food with family during the holidays with gift baskets. There are so many varieties to choose from like chocolate gift baskets or lovely wine gift baskets. Or get an idea to create your own gift baskets of cheer!


If you are interested in Polish cuisine I recommend you a book written by Marja Ochorowicz-Monatowa, entitled Polish Cookery


I have this book and it is very useful. It is written in English but it has Polish and English names of all the dishes. The dishes are modified to American and international market.

Below is another interesting cookbook with culinary history of Poland, Polish cooking-related legends and a variety of tasty recipes organized around the holidays like Easter and Christmas Old Polish Traditions in the Kitchen and at the Table by Maria Lemnis, Henryk Vitry, Davidovic Mladen


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