I just wanted to take a quick moment to wish everyone out there a very HAPPY DYNGUS DAY! For those living in and around South Bend (as well as Buffalo, Cleveland, and other Polish hot spots) Dyngus Day is a giant celebration that will be sorely missed this year.
Traditionally, boys throw water over girls and spank them with pussy willow branches on Easter Monday, and girls do the same to boys. This is accompanied by a number of other rituals, such as making verse declarations and holding door-to-door processions, in some regions involving boys dressed as bears or other creatures.
Dyngus Day is also celebrated annually in South Bend, Indiana and the surrounding region, especially in LaPorte, Indiana. In South Bend, the day marks the official beginning to launch the year’s political primary campaign season (particularly among Democrats)- often from within the West Side Democratic Club, the M.R. Falcons Club, the South Bend Firefighters’ Association and local pubs and fraternal halls. Notable politicos who have celebrated Dyngus Day in South Bend include the late Robert F. Kennedy; former Governor Joe Kernan; Senator Evan Bayh; former Congressman and New York University President John Brademas; former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; former Congressman, 9/11 Commission member and former Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer; former President Bill Clinton; the famous philanthropist Thomas A. White; and the late Aloysius J. Kromkowski, a long time elected St. Joseph County public servant, for whom the “Al Kromkowski polka” is named.
Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 appearance was marked by his downtown rally attended by a crowd of over 6,000, his participation in the Dyngus Day parade, and his leading of the crowds at the West Side Democratic Club in the traditional Polish well-wishing song Sto Lat (phonetic: ‘sto laht’) which means “100 years”. Indiana was RFK’s first primary and first primary victory, which set in motion momentum and victories that may have led to his nomination as the Democratic Party candidate for President had he not been assassinated. Visitors in 2008 included then–Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Hopefully for those of you that usually throw down for Dyngus Day each year, you’re able to celebrate as best as possible at home.
NA ZDROWIE! STO LAT!