Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Dyngus Day!

For those not from the Buffalo area (even if you *are* Polish) you might not even know what Dyngus Day is. Dyngus Day is a day of celebration on Easter Monday. What has evolved through the years as playful courting rituals (water play and flirtatious tapping from pussy willow branches) has become just one big excuse to party. In fact, Buffalo, NY is considered to have the world's largest organized Dyngus Day celebrations. If you were to ask my dad about Dyngus Day's roots, he would've snubbed his nose at the actual authenticity of its Polish background, yet as the lyrics of one polka song says, "Every body's Polish on Dyngus Day". Actually, to accommodate the Dyngus partiers, an entire section of the newspaper was devoted to outlining the Dyngus Day bashes around town. The pussy willows are still plentiful at Dyngus Day celebrations. It's not uncommon to get swatted by pussy willows as you pass by someone yet, after people began bringing "super soakers" years ago, water guns are now banned at all celebrations.

If you know me, you know that I was born with my dancing shoes on. I got that from my mom! I remember dancing with my mom to the radio in our kitchen - and now I do the same with Madeline. In later years, as an adult, I would go out polka dancing with my mom at lease once a month. Knowing how much Madeline also loves music and loves to dance I decided to ring up an old dancing buddy to head out to an afternoon Dyngus party (The afternoon parties are *much* tamer than the evening ones!). Madeline had an absolute blast!! The biggest challenge on my part, however, was trying to teach Madeline that you must circle the dance floor's perimeter and not take over the entire "stage". I would say that with Madeline's enthusiasm, polka will not die in her lifetime! Above is a picture of Madeline being a polka band groupie.

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