The weather is great and the fun begins around noon..
But wait, do you want to party but, still wondering what Dyngus Day is?? Have no fear, here’s a brief explanation of the local celebration and the history of the celebration:
Dyngus Day, or Wet Monday (Polish Śmigus-Dingus or lany poniedziałek) is the name for Easter Monday. Historically a Polish tradition, Dyngus Day celebrates the end of the 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. In Cleveland specifically, the goal is to not only make this a Polish Cultural festival; organizers also want their Polka Heritage as well as the other Eastern European cultures still thriving in Cleveland celebrated.
2014 marks the festival’s 4th year here in Cleveland. The celebration is growing and according to the excitement surrounding the celebration, all involved are excited to share this day with the city. During the festival in 2012, it is estimated that roughly 5,000 people were in attendance in the Detroit Shoreway Neighborhood, celebrating at over 7 venues as well as an Accordion Parade.
Going back to Dyngus roots… In Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic traditionally, early in the morning boys awoke girls by pouring a bucket of water on their head and striking them about the legs with long thin twigs or switches made from willow, birch or decorated tree branches.
One theory is that Dingus originates from the baptism on Easter Monday of Mieszko I (Duke of the Polans, c. 935–992) in 966 AD, uniting all of Poland under the banner of Christianity. Dingus and Śmigus were twin pagan gods; the former representing water and the moist earth (Dingus from din gus – thin soup or dingen – nature); and the latter representing thunder and lightning (Śmigus from śmigać or to make a whooshing sound). In this theory, the water tradition is the transformation of the pagan water god into the Christian baptism. The custom of pouring water was an ancient spring rite of cleansing, purification, and fertility. It is alleged that the pagan Poles bickered with nature/Dingus by means of pouring water and switching with willows to make themselves pure and worthy of the coming year. Others have suggested that the striking tradition is the transformation of the ritual “slap” of Christian confirmation. However, still others suggest that the Śmigus tradition is actually simply a youthful recapitulation of a Good Friday Polish tradition, in which parents wake their children with switches from twigs, saying the words of a Lenten prayer “God’s wounds” – “Boże rany”.
Lolly the Trolly will shuttle Dyngus Day folks between all venues in Detroit-Shoreway, Ohio City, and Tremont. Trollys will run from 12:30 – 8:30pm. Look for the red and white ballons outside of official Dyngus Day venues.
For any additional info, check out the Cleveland Dyngus Day website!