Paczki Day more about tradition than treat

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WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A customer peels back the tape on a white paper box stamped ‘Paula’s Donuts’, moves aside wax paper, and reaches in, taking out a glazed, raspberry paczki.

“The dough is sweeter,” said Taylor Mundell, the shift manager at Paula’s Donuts.

“You [have to] take a shower after you eat them – there’s so much jelly in them,” said Donald Dabrowski.

Paczkis are the traditional treats made with a different dough, overfilled with raspberry jelly (there’s half an ounce more filling in a paczki than a regular donut), and glazed. According to the Polish tradition, the donuts are to be made and eaten the day before Ash Wednesday, known as Fat Tuesday. For many, waking up early, heading to a nearby bakery, and enjoying one with family and friends is their favorite part of the holiday.

“It started years ago,” said Dabrowski, the Western New York native.

Like many Poles, Dabrowski grew up eating paczkis.

“My grandmother used to make these. They’re made with a honey warm glaze, filled with jelly.”

Now, each Fat Tuesday, he wakes up well before dawn, beginning his drive to a Buffalo area bakery to pick up a dozen.

“I’ve been doing it for my wife for 29 years,” said Dabrowski. “It’s a tradition. It’s that or don’t come home.”

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