Fat Tuesday is the last day of indulgence before the Catholic season of Lent begins. From Wednesday, March 6 to Saturday, April 20, millions of Americans will look to fast or give up certain luxuries in their daily lives. Therefore, the Tuesday before Lent has become a special holiday for many, including those in the baking industry.
For more devout followers, certain cooking fats are forbidden during Lent. In Poland, that practice led to the rise of certain delicacies on Fat Tuesday, such as paczki. Pronounced POONCH-key, these donut-like pastries typically filled with custard or jelly came to America with Polish immigrants who passed on the tradition to their kin.
Retail bakeries in those areas would specialize in paczkis, making it one of their more popular products. As its success caught on elsewhere, more and more retailers across the country focused on making their special brand of this baked good.