Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Long, hard winter = no pussywillows

Yesterday was Dyngus Day.
I had actually forgotten all about this holiday until I was listening to a Buffalo radio station on Saturday and they mentioned it.
Given the fact that I'm not Polish and do not live in an area that is rich in Polish ethnicity might account for the fact that I had forgotten. But Buffalo is and man do they go all out for Dyngus Day especially considering that they are the self-proclaimed Dyngus Day Capital of America.
Check out this website if you think I'm kidding.
So according to them, Dyngus Day is:
Historically a Polish-American tradition, Dyngus Day celebrates the end of the often restrictive observance of lent and the joy of Easter. Over the decades, Dyngus Day has become a wonderful holiday to celebrate Polish-American culture, heritage and traditions.
Fortunately they give you some valuable tips - keep this in mind for next year's Dyngus Day:
As the popular polka anthem explains, “Everybody’s Polish On Dyngus Day!” Many parties begin during the mid-morning on the Monday after Easter with a large buffet of traditional Easter foods (kielbasa, ham, fresh breads, eggs). It is common to hear polka music on Dyngus Day with the mandatory dancing of at least one polka. Many parties continue well into daylight on Tuesday. (A tip to the first time Dyngus participant….take Tuesday off from work.)

So why the pussywillows? You may find your true love on Dyngus Day. Of course if you're married you will probably just get drunk. But if you're single, bring along some water and pussywillows:
This is a yearly debate among Dyngus Day revelers. The tradition holds true that on Easter Monday boys would sprinkle the girls with water and tap them with pussywillows. On Easter Tuesday, the women would return the favorite. At modern Dyngus Day parties it is common practice that both men and women trade water and pussywillow equally.
I had never even heard of this holiday or celebrated it until I was 18 or 19 because this is not something that they celebrate in the greater Rochester area. I remember after I first joined the Marine Corps I would mention Dyngus Day to people and they would just look at me as if I were completely out of my mind. Sometimes they would do the same thing when I mentioned Euchre. Have you ever played it? That seems to be a regional thing too.
Now unfortunately this year there is a shortage of pussywillows, primarily because of our long, hard winter.
I have no doubt that this stopped people from drinking lots and lots of piwo or vodka.
Perhaps we'll hit it up next year, when everyone is not quite so sick around my house.
Yes, I'm spreading it.

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