Cultural: Smigus Dyngus

The day after Easter is called "Smigus Dyngus".  It is also called "Easter Monday" and is a national holiday in Poland.

While it used to be particularly rich in tradition, it has kind of devolved in our area into throwing water at anyone and everyone who walks on the sidewalks before noon.

In times past boys threw water onto the girls that they liked. In the villages apparently they could even go into a girl's house and drag her out of bed and douse her with water. We are pretty sure it is related to some spring fertility rite, but the origins seem to be obscured sufficiently enough so that no one seems to know what the truth is.

Of course, nowadays no one runs into someone else's house and drags them out of their beds - at least not around here. Almost everyone has a fence and a locked gate and double or triple locks on the doors - there wouldn't be any way you could do that unless someone left it open on purpose.

You can read the accompanying Wikipedia article about it.  Since the day after Easter is often quite chilly and not very warm, many times nothing much happens that day.

Kids do like to use it as an excuse to get all wet - which for some reason, is fun - even in 50-60F degree weather! (Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 45F.)

I have heard of a lady walking on the sidewalk in Warsaw and she got a bucket of water thrown on her from way up high in an apartment.  Obviously she got soaked - it could be dangerous - but I guess if you have to go out - take an umbrella!  One day I needed to be out in our van and some guys were standing in the road and throwing buckets of water on any vehicle that happened by.  (I wasn't impressed.)

Here's an image I got from google images showing traditional dress young ladies getting soaked. Since girls don't normally dress like this anymore, you can be assured that this was a special dress up time and picture just for the occasion! But this may be what it used to look like in days of long ago.

I think the girls were flattered that the boys took notice of them enough to throw water at them!

Apparently pretty girls had more water thrown on them than anyone else.

That saying, my son loved to have a water fight with his friend. I have to admit that this didn't seem to have anything to do with "smigus dyngus"--just a chance to be a typical boy. I think this particular tradition is one of those things you have to grow up with to appreciate it because the kids here seem to enjoy it - boys and girls alike.

And that's it for our Easter holiday!

In just two weeks we have two more holidays!


Becky PetersenComment