HAMTRAMCK (WWJ) –  It’s an unofficial holiday for many in the metro Detroit area: Fat Tuesday, also known as Paczki Day.

A Polish-American tradition, several celebrate on Fat Tuesday — the day before Lent begins — by gorging on paczki, which are calorie-laden, deep-fried pastries filled with the most delicious creams, custards and jellies.

Traditionally, the reason for making paczki (pronounced “pooonch-key”) was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because the ingredients were forbidden to be consumed due to Catholic fasting practices during Lent.

The tradition has evolved over the years and now, come Fat Tuesday, Americans rush out to get the tastiest paczki they can find. Ask any metro Detroiter and they’ll tell you, the best place to go for pazcki is Hamtramck.

That’s where WWJ’s Charlie Langton found the line wrapped around the building at New Palace Bakery on Joseph Campau Avenue. Priscilla Jankins said paczki are so much more than jelly donuts — they’re magical.

“You put the homemade blueberries that the old ladies of Hamtramck make through the night. Then you fold and bake at 350, then caramelize it with a little sugar,” she said. “Yum!”

Hamtramck might be where most people go but others, like Corey Dye, head to Detroit. Dye says National Bakery, on State Fair just west of I-75, is the only place he’ll go for paczki.

“It’s been here a long time, you know, people ride past it and they don’t understand what it is until they finally pull up and say ‘Oh, here it is. This is the place I need to be,'” Dye said.

 MORE: Best Paczki In Detroit

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