Happy Paczki Day! That’s right, it’s the big day to enjoy these decadent, sweet Polish “donuts.” (They’re different than donuts, in the same way kielbasi is different than sausage. Just sayin’.)
Last night, the whole family headed to Platform Beer Co. for the Paczki Day Eve Party, with pierogi and paczki from Rudy’s Strudel & Bakery. Pair those with porters and polkas and you have one perfect Polish party! (Huzzah alliteration!)
And while the event itself was a blast, the bigger thing for me is living in a city where events like Paczki Day Eve parties, Dyngus Day, and Cleveland Kurentovanje happen. Now, that’s my biased list because of my own heritage, but the same can be said for the gigantic St. Patrick’s Day parade, the Tremont Greek Fest, One World Day, or any of the other amazing cultural celebrations in Cleveland.
I’ve lived in cities that are much more transient and transplant-heavy than Cleveland. When I was living in Denver, I was determined to find paczki on Paczki Day. It took stumbling on a blog post to discover the one bakery that was selling paczki. I headed out early in the morning. I knew what Cleveland paczki lines were like and those were spread out over several bakeries! When I arrived, I was the only one there. So, I bought my paczki, chatted with the old Polish lady who made them, and missed standing in an hour-plus line with other crazy sweet seekers.
One of the things I grew to love and appreciate about Cleveland from living in those other places was that we not just respect, but truly celebrate our heritage. We are from Cleveland. But we are also from Poland and Slovenia and Greece and Ireland. And we think that’s worth a party.
I also love how on Paczki Day, everyone can be Polish. On St. Patrick’s Day, we can all find a little Irish in us. The communities not only celebrate with their own members, but welcome everyone to the fold to raise a glass (or a paczki). And if you’re looking to find paczki today, click here or here for great places to go.
As Cleveland progresses, I believe we’ll always keep the strong cultural ties that we have. It’s what makes us who we are, not just as individuals, but as a city. Na zdrowie!