Whet­ting my ap­petite for Dyn­gus Day fun

The Buffalo News - - OPINION - Tina Brozek, of Elma, is hop­ing for a warm, sunshine-filled Dyn­gus Day.

Ev­ery­one has a team, a topic or hobby that some­times be­comes an ob­ses­sion. Mine is an unique hol­i­day that Buf­falo has claimed. Buf­falo is the Dyn­gus Day cap­i­tal of the world.

This age-old hol­i­day is the Mon­day af­ter Easter each year, cel­e­brat­ing the end of Lent. When the pussy wil­lows are fly­ing and the squirt guns are spritz­ing, we can only hope for warmth and sunshine on April 22.

Still cel­e­brated in Poland to­day, the Amer­i­can Dyn­gus Day cel­e­bra­tions in large Pol­ish-pop­u­lated cities have trans­formed into greater ju­bi­la­tion it seems in re­cent decades.

My col­lege friend, Anna from Warsaw, Poland, gives me de­light­ful com­men­tary on my posted pic­tures an­nu­ally, say­ing how the Amer­i­can Dyn­gus takes it to an­other level.

This silly, eu­phoric hol­i­day be­gan in A.D. 966 to sig­nify clean­ing, fer­til­ity and pu­rifi­ca­tion. It is Dyn­gus tra­di­tion that gen­tle­men toss wa­ter at the ladies and swat them with pussy wil­lows. The fol­low­ing day women were al­lowed to throw dishes and crock­ery at the men. A bit of “ro­man­tic fun” in the form of some post-Len­ten carousal and tri­umph.

My very first ex­pe­ri­ence was just 12 Dyn­gus days ago. My Pol­ish roots were al­ways of in­ter­est to me, yet I still felt like a duck out of wa­ter grow­ing up in Amherst and hav­ing par­ents of dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties.

My sis­ter had heard about this grow­ing lo­cal Pol­ish cel­e­bra­tion. That first year that we headed for the Adam Mick­iewicz Li­brary on Fillmore Av­enue, in the heart of Polo­nia, or what I knew was the East Side of the city. It has al­ways been a great cover story to say you were head­ing out for the evening to go to “the li­brary.”

We were mes­mer­ized by the lo­cal Polka fu­sion band, “Those Id­iots,” mor­ph­ing songs of to­day into a ver­sion of polka-ska-dance jams. Af­ter danc­ing the night away in our own ver­sion of polka and mosh pit moves, we emerged sweaty, gush­ing with laugh­ter and smil­ing from ear to ear. Per­haps the Piwo, or Pol­ish beer, had a hand in that, but it was the new­found cul­tural ex­plo­ration that was thrilling too.

Through­out the years, an­other of our fa­vorite stops this day is the R&L Lounge on Mills Street off Broad­way. Owned by the very sweet cou­ple Ron­nie and Lot­tie, there is noth­ing bet­ter than start­ing Dyn­gus Day off with some de­lec­ta­ble dishes straight from their au­then­tic Pol­ish kitchen.

Per­haps the pin­na­cle of the revelry for some is the pa­rade where you can even catch some kiel­basa if you are lucky.

Be sure to look out for the wa­ter squirt­ing from the pa­rade par­tic­i­pants high upon the some­times makeshift and most cre­ative floats and groups walk­ing by as well as the other an­tics from the spec­ta­tors.

For us, the grand fi­nale is the party filled with polka de­light, which is at the Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal start­ing early in the evening. The ter­mi­nal struc­ture, though gray and de­crepit, is noth­ing short of ma­jes­tic this night.

So, pre­pare your­self for Easter and Dyn­gus Day by a trip to these lo­cal gems, in ad­di­tion to the won­der­ful Broad­way Mar­ket in cen­tral Polo­nia, to start or keep tra­di­tions alive. May you en­joy your Dyn­gus Day in any way you see fit. It is a day to be with friends and fam­ily, share laugh­ter, be silly, be light and just live.

Per­haps the pin­na­cle of the revelry for some is the pa­rade where you can even catch some kiel­basa if you are lucky.

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