Monday, March 24, 2008

Do you hear accordions?

Wishing you all a very Happy Dyngus Day!

In these parts, "Dyngus" is also a verb, as in "Are you Dyngusing today?" Here's a little history of this strange holiday, which has its roots in European Catholicism:

Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is celebrated as a holiday in some largely Christian cultures, especially Roman Catholic cultures. Dyngus Day or Wet Monday (Polish Śmigus-dyngus or Lany Poniedziałek) is the name for Easter Monday in Poland. In Poland, traditionally, early in the morning boys awake girls by pouring a bucket of water on their head and strike them about the legs with long thin twigs or switches made from willow, birch, or decorated tree branches (palmy wielkanocne). 


Later the focus shifted to the courting aspect of the ritual, and young unmarried girls were the only acceptable targets. A boy would sneak into the bedroom of the particular girl he fancied and awaken her by completely drenching her with multiple buckets of water. Politics played an important role in proceedings, and often the boy would get access to the house only by arrangement with the girl's mother.Throughout the day, girls would find themselves the victims of drenchings and leg-whippings, and a daughter who was not targeted for such activities was generally considered to be beznadziejna (hopeless) in this very coupling-oriented environment.



Most recently, the tradition has changed to become fully water-focused, and the Śmigus part is almost forgotten. It is quite common for girls to attack boys just as fiercely as the boys traditionally attacked the girls. With much of Poland's population residing in tall apartment buildings, high balconies are favorite hiding places for young people who gleefully empty full buckets of water onto randomly selected passers-by.


Though not largely observed in the United States, the day remains informally observed in some areas such as the state of North Dakota and the cities of Buffalo, New York and South Bend, Indiana. Traditionally Polish areas of the country such as Chicago observe Dyngus Day as well. In Buffalo's eastern suburbs, Dyngus Day is celebrated with a level of enthusiasm that rivals St. Patrick's Day. In South Bend, the day is often used to launch the year's political campaign season (particularly among Democrats), often from within the West Side Democratic Club, the M.R. Falcons Club, or in local pubs, where buying drinks is favored over handshaking.


Sounds great, huh? I'm glad they've kind of let the willow switches go by the wayside. But it is indeed a big day here in northern Indiana (even if we don't dump water on each other), with Bill and Chelsea Clinton in town for Hillary, and various current and former Indiana politicos all paying a visit to kiss hands and shake babies. If you listen real hard, you can probably hear the polka music wherever you're at! We're livin' La Vida Polka tonight! Nah, we're not Dyngusing. It's just fun to hear about. I get the impression that it's more of a chance to go barhopping, drink lots of beer, and eat mass quantities of kielbasa on a Monday night than anything else! 

Besides, Ken is working tonight. Bummer. The planned refueling outage starts tomorrow, and he's part of the management team that helps run the thing. He's only supposed to work one 12-hour night shift a week this year, but the guy he's replacing has the flu, so he had to cover for him tonight. I'll miss hanging out with my Hubby tonight, but I'm happy at the prospect of having a day off tomorrow. I'll just have to be as quiet as a little mousie while he's sleeping tomorrow. I'm not too worried about it, because I generally AM fairly quiet, and once he falls asleep, he's pretty much out like a light.


specialadyfink said...

Good grief-where have been all my life-never have I heard of Dyngus Day...hmmm-good thing cause I would be hoppin mad at being switched and drowned with water...I would come up fightin...LOL

jimsulliv3 said...

I'm well aware of the holiday as I learned about it when I saw the movie starring Frank Sinatra called "Dirty Dyngus McGee" or was it "Dingus" ...hmmmm


rdautumnsage said...

As I've often said before, there is rarely a boring moment with you recounting historical facts. I have to admit I never heard of this tradition. Learn something new. If I had known beforehand I might of cooked up kielbasi and dirty rice for dinner instead of steaks and baked potatoes. (Hugs) Indigo

luvrte66 said...

I think next year, everyone should celebrate Dyngus Day! How can you go wrong with a holiday called Dyngus Day? It just SOUNDS fun!


deshelestraci said...

Yeah, I'll pass on the buckets of water and the whippings!  Bring on the beer and kilbasa!

queeniemart said...

what a strange tradition......what was the girl who got drenched supposed to do if she did not like the boy drenching her? I would hate to be awakened by cold water! My husband often had that done to him by his mom as a teen when he would not get up. I enjoyed reading about this though.
I hope you enjoy your day off and that Ken got home safe and sound.
XO lj