National Pierogi Day Date in the current year: October 8, 2024

National Pierogi Day National Pierogi Day is observed annually on October 8. It celebrates an Eastern European dish commonly known as pierogi or varenyky that was popularized in North America by Polish and Ukrainian immigrants.

Pierogi are a type of dumplings popular in Eastern European cuisines (Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, Hungarian, Romanian, Moldovan, Slovakian, Slovenian). They are made by wrapping a thin layer of unleavened dough around a filling, which can be savory or sweet, and boiling the resulting dumplings. Boiled pierogi can be pan-fried or baked before serving, but this step is optional.

Pierogi is the Polish name for the dish; it has made its way into English thanks to Polish immigrants to the United States and Canada. Identical dumplings are called varenyky in Ukraine and vareniki in Russia and Belarus. It should be noted that both words, pierogi and varenyky, are plural; a single dumpling is pierog in Polish and varenyk in Ukrainian.

Interestingly, the words “pyrohy” and “pirogi”, which have the same origin as the word “pierogi”, mean “pies” in Ukrainian and Russian, respectively, which sometimes leads to confusion. Similar dumplings are called derelye in Hungary, colțunași in Moldova and Romania, bryndzové pirohy in Slovakia (bryndzové means “filled with bryndza cheese”), and ajdovi krapi (“buckwheat carps”) in Slovenia.

Polish pierogi and Ukrainian varenyky are made from dough consisting of flour and warm water; sometimes an egg is added to give the dough more elasticity. Popular pierogi fillings include mashed potatoes (often combined with mushrooms, fried onions or fried bacon), ground meat, cottage cheese, cabbage or sauerkraut, fresh fruits and berries.

Both sweet and savory pierogi can be served with melted butter and/or sour cream. Pierogi with savory fillings also can be topped with fried onions, mushrooms, or small pieces of fried bacon. Dessert pierogi (filled with fruits or sweetened cottage cheese) may be topped with jam or apple sauce, or dusted with sugar.

Central and Eastern European immigrants brought pierogi to the United States and Canada. The first documented sale of pierogi at a North American restaurant occurred in Cleveland, Ohio in 1928. Pierogi are particularly common in Chicago, New York City, Pittsburgh, and other cities and areas with significant Polish and Ukrainian populations. Numerous towns in the United States and Canada that have Eastern European heritage have festivals and other events celebrating pierogi.

Given the popularity of pierogi in some parts in the United States, it is not surprising that there is an unofficial holiday dedicated to the dish. The origin of National Pierogi Day is unclear, but don’t let it stop you from indulging in delicious dumplings on October 8.

Celebrate the holiday by visiting your local Polish or Ukrainian restaurant, throwing a Polish- or Ukrainian-themed potluck dinner for your friends and family, trying as many pierogi with different fillings as possible, or making a big batch of pierogi and freezing them so that you can have dumplings for dinner or lunch whenever you feel like it. And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #NationalPierogiDay.

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National Pierogi Day, food days, unofficial holidays, observances in the United states, Polish cuisine, Ukrainian cuisine