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( HOLY WEEK CUSTOMS )

SOME OF THE OLD WORLD CUSTOMS THAT ARE CELEBRATED BY
POLISH-AMERICANS, AND ARE A BIG PART OF OUR HERITAGE STEM FROM
OUR CATHOLIC FAITH. THE BIGGEST AND MOST IMPORTANT IS EASTER.
AT THE CONCLUSION OF HOLY THURSDAY SERVICES OUR ALTAR IS
STRIPPED OF ITS VESTMENTS AND IS LEFT BARE. THE TABERNACLE
IS LEFT OPEN AND THE SACREMENT REMOVED. AT THE SIDE ALTAR THE
SEPULCHRE IS PREPARED. AT 3:00 ON GOOD FRIDAY THE FIGURE OF
CHRIST WILL BE LYING IN THE TOMB. ON GOOD FRIDAY ( , )
BEGINNING AT 12:00 NOON ( , ) THE CHURCH IS FILLED TO CAPACITY
WITH WORSHIPPERS COMMENORATING ( COMMEMORATING ) CHRIST'S
CRUCIFIXION. THE CROSS IS CARRIED THROUGH THE AISLES COVERING
CHRIST'S FOOTSTEPS ON THE WAY TO CALVARY. AT 3:00, THE PRIEST
LEADS THE PROCESSION TO THE SEPULCHRE AND THE FIGURE OF CHRIST IS
UNCOVERED.
THE MORNING OF HOLY SATURDAY FINDS THE PEOPLE COMING TO THE CHURCH
TO RECEIVE HOLY WATER AND THORNS. IN POLISH HOMES YOU WILL FIND
A RECEPTACLE FOR HOLY WATER AT THE ENTRANCE OF THE BEDROOMS FROM
WHICH THE MOTHER BLESSES HER FAMILY WHILE THEY ARE ASLEEP AT
NIGHT. A VISIT IS PAID TO THE SEPULCHRE WHICH IS GUARDED BY
SOLDIERS. THE PARISHIONERS BRING EASTER LILIES TO ADORN CHRIST'S
TOMB. AT 1:00 WE BRING FOOD BASKETS TO THE CHURCH TO BE BLESSED,
WHICH WILL BE EATEN FOR BREAKFAST ON EASTER. THE FOOD CONSISTS OF
POLISH SAUSAGE (KIELBASA) ( , ) BUTTER SHAPED IN THE FORM OF A
LAMB WITH A RED RIBBON AROUND ITS NECK, SIGNIFYING CHRIST,
THE SLAIN LAMB. A SWEET BREAD MADE OF EGG AND SWEET RAISINS IS
BRAIDED INTO A LOAF, HORSERADISH AND COLORED EASTER ( EGGS ) ARE
ALSO IN THE BASKET.
EASTER MORNING AT 5:00 A.M. THE SUNRISE SERVICES BEGIN.
CHILDREN DRESSED IN WHITE ( , ) WEARING BLUE CAPES ( , ) COME IN
PROCESSION CARRYING FLOWERS. THEY ARE MET AT THE ALTAR BY THE
PRIEST AND WITH A TRUMPET FANFARE PROCEED TO THE TOMB. THERE
THEY FIND THE FIGURE OF CHRIST HAS BEEN REMOVED AND WHERE HE LAID
FLOWERS EN-MASSE. ARTIFICIAL SUNRAYS PROFUSE FROM THE TOMB, AND
THE SOLDIERS ARE GONE. CHRIST IS RISEN.
IN THE OLD COUNTRY EASTER MONDAY FINDS THE BOYS CHASING THEIR
GIRLS WITH LONG SWITCHES TO SWITCH THEIR LEGS. THEY IN TURN,
ARE CHASING THE BOYS WITH BUCKETS OF WATER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; FOOD CUSTOM ; MUSIC ; RITUAL WHIPPING ; SWIECZONKA ; SYMBOL ; WATER

Subject headings: 663 Holy Thursday
663 Good Friday
663 Holy Saturday
Favorites
DRAMA -- Religious
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter eggs
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting F663.30

Date learned: 11-10-1971

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EASTER CUSTOM

ON EASTER SATURDAY, IN OUR SLOVENIAN PARISH, BASKETS OF FOOD (HOME-
MADE BREAD, EASTER EGGS, SAUSAGE, HAM, POTICA--A TYPE OF NUTBREAD--)
ARE TAKEN TO THE CHURCH TO BE GIVEN A SPECIAL BLESSING. THIS FOOD
IS THEN EATEN FOR BREAKFAST ON EASTER SUNDAY, MONDAY, AND TUESDAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; SWIECZONKA

Subject headings: 663 Holy Saturday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter eggs
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Tuesday Revenge Day
BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: 10-02-1967

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CROATION EASTER CUSTOM

ON EASTER MONDAY, CHILDREN GO FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE IN THEIR
NEIGHBORHOODS CARRYING SMALL BOTTLES OF CHEAP PERFUME. WHEN THEY
DABBED SOME PERFUME ON THE OCCUPANT OF THE HOUSE, HE WOULD GIVE
THEM MONEY.

Submitter comment:

Told various dates at informant's home.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share same surname.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; informant's home

Keyword(s): EASTER GIFTS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

View just this record

SEASONAL TRADITION

AMONG PEOPLE OF POLISH-AMERICAN EXTRACTION, EASTER MONDAY IS KNOWN
AS "SPRINKLE DAY." ON THIS DAY THEY SPRINKLE EVERYONE THEY MEET
WITH PERFUME. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BRING GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment:

MY MOTHER FIRST LEARNED OF THIS CUSTOM WHEN SHE WAS TEACHING IN THE
DELRAY SECTION OF DETROIT ABOUT 30 YEARS AGO.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant is collector's mother.
 

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; LUCK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

View just this record

EASTER CUSTOM

ON EASTER MONDAY THE BOYS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD GO TO THE GIRLS'
HOUSES AND SPRINKLE THEM WITH COLOGNE OR TOILET WATER.
(HUNGARIAN)

Submitter comment:

TRAVELLED

Where learned: OFFICE

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

Date learned: 11-20-1967

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SLOVAK EASTER CUSTOM

ON MONDAY AFTER EASTER SUNDAY, THE YOUNG, SINGLE MEN WENT OUT TO
SEE HIS FAVORITE GIRL AND POURED PERFUMED WATER
ON HER HEAD AND SHE USED IT TO WASH HER
 FACE .
BUT THE BOYS WHO HAD NO GIRL IN PARTICULAR WENT INTO HOMES, DRAGGED
THE YOUNG LADY OUT TO THE WELL, AND DOUSED HER GOOD. THE MORE
POPULAR THE YOUNG LADY IS, THE MORE MEN CAME, AND OF COURSE THE
PARENTS WERE VERY HAPPY THAT THEIR DAUGHTER IS SO POPULAR AND HAD
MANY WOULD-BE SUITERS.
WHEN THE BOYS WATERED THE GIRLS, THE GIRL'S PARENTS INVITED THE BOYS
INTO THEIR HOME AND OFFERED THEM GOODIES AND DRINKS; SLIVOVIC (A PLUM
LIQUOR), KOLBASI, HAM, ETC.
ON EASTER TUESDAY, THE YOUNG LADIES TRIED TO RETURN THE WATER
SPLASHING ON THE YOUNG MEN.
THE EASTER HOLIDAY LASTED THREE DAYS.

Where learned: OHIO ; CLEVELAND

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; FOOD CUSTOM ; REVENGE ; SUITORS ; WATER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Tuesday Revenge Day

Date learned: 00001967 FALL

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CUSTOM

ON THE DAY AFTER EASTER, THE FIRST GIRL A BOY SAW, HE WOULD SPRINKLE
HER WITH WATER. HOWEVER BOYS ARE BOYS WHEREVER YOU GO AND THEY
USUALLY USED A WHOLE BUCKET OF WATER ON EVERY GIRL THEY MET. THEIR
GIRL FRIENDS THEY SPRINKLED WITH PERFUME OR COLOGNE.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated and Motifs Added / 02-28-2011 / TRD
Informant and collector share same surname.

Where learned: TAYLOR ; Michigan Consolidated Gas Company ; informant's home

Keyword(s): Boy ; Cologne ; COURTSHIP ; CUSTOM ; DYNGUS DAY ; Female ; Flirt ; Flirtation ; Girl ; holiday ; Male ; Perfume ; RITUAL ; Scent ; WATER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

Date learned: 11-27-1967

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EASTER CUSTOM

THE POLES INCLUDE THE MONDAY AFTER EASTER AS A PART OF THEIR EASTER
OBSERVANCE. ON "DYNGUS" THE BOYS UNDER TWENTY-ONE SQUIRT GIRLS WITH
WATER UNTIL THEY RECEIVE A "PISANKA", WHICH IS AN ARTISTICALLY
DECORATED EASTER EGG.

Submitter comment:

THE INFORMANT TOLD ME THAT WHEN HER DAUGHTERS WERE GROWING UP IN
THIS COUNTRY SHE WOULD HAVE TO BRIBE THE BOYS WITH MONEY WHEN THEY
WOULD COME AROUND ON "DYNGUS" SO THEY WOULDN'T SQUIRT HER DAUGHTERS
WITH WATER.

Data entry tech comment:

DYNGUS MEANS "RANSOM" IN POLISH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

Date learned: 02-07-1971

View just this record

SWITCHING DAY

ON THE DAY AFTER EASTER POLISH GIRLS STAY INSIDE IF THEY
KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR THEM. THE BOYS ARE OUT TO GET THEM WITH WATER
BALLOONS, EGGS, NUTS AND VARIOUS OTHER GOODIES. SOMETIMES IN THE
MORNING PARENTS WILL LET NEIGHBORHOOD BOYS IN, AND THEY QUIETLY MAKE
WAY TO THE DAUGHTER'S BEDROOM WHERE SHE SLEEPS, AND
BEGIN TO "SWITCH" THE FEET WITH LIMBS OF PUSSY WILLOW
TREES; THEY MAY ALSO SPRINKLE WATER ON THE GIRLS. THIS CUSTOM IS
DERIVED FROM THE ACTION OF LONG AGO
WHEN ST. STEPHEN WAS STONED THE DAY AFTER
EASTER. HOWEVER, THE BOYS MUST BEWARE, FOR TUESDAY IS REVENGE
DAY AND THE GIRLS ARE OUT TO GET THEM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HARPER WOODS

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; RITUAL WHIPPING ; WATER ; WILLOW

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Tuesday Revenge Day

Date learned: 11-22-1971

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AN EASTER CUSTOM

ON EASTER MONDAY THE BOYS OF THE TOWN WOULD GO AROUND AND THROW
WATER ON THE HEADS OF THE YOUNG GIRLS OF THE TOWN AS A SIGN OF
FERTILITY.

Submitter comment:

HEARD FROM HER FATHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; STUDENT UNION

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; WATER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

Date learned: 04-04-1967

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EASTER CUSTOM

ON EASTER MONDAY IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA, THE BOYS VISIT THE GIRLS IN THEIR
NEIGHBORHOOD. THEY CARRY A BUCKET OF WATER AND WET THE GIRLS' PALMS.
THEY THEN EXCHANGE THE EASTER GREETING: "CHRIST HAS RISEN" AND
"INDEED HE HAS." NEXT THE GIRLS RUN AWAY BECAUSE THE BOYS TRY TO
SPILL WATER ON THEIR FACE. THE BOYS CHASE THE GIRLS ALL DAY. ON
EASTER TUESDAY, THE GIRLS DO THE SAME TO THE BOYS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; informant's home

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; REVENGE ; WATER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

Date learned: 02-25-1970

View just this record

EASTER CUSTOM

ON EASTER MONDAY, THE YOUNG MEN GO TO THE HOUSES OF YOUNG GIRLS
IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA AND SPRINKLE THE GIRLS WITH WATER. THE MORE
EXUBERANT ONES THROW BUCKETS FULL AND THE MORE ELITE SPRINKLE WITH
PERFUME.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant is collector's mother.
 

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; WATER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

Date learned: 03-02-1970

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"DINGUS"

ON EASTER MONDAY, YOU WOULD KNOCK AT PEOPLE'S DOORS AND POUR WATER
ON THEIR HANDS. THEN YOU WOULD SAY A POLISH SAYING AND THEY WOULD
GIVE YOU COOKIES OR SOMETHING.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT'S MOTHER PRACTICED THIS CUSTOM WHEN SHE WAS IN POLAND.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SCRANTON

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; EASTER GIFTS ; FOOD CUSTOM ; WATER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

Date learned: 03-05-1972

View just this record

THE MONDAY AFTER EASTER IS CALLED "POLYVANIJ PONEDILOK" OR WATERING
MONDAY AMONG THE UKRAINIANS. IT IS CUSTOMARY FOR PEOPLE, USUALLY
THE YOUNG, TO SPILL WATER AT EACH OTHER. IF A YOUNG MAN SPILLS WATER
ON HIS GIRL FIRST, HE WILL BE HEAD OF THE FAMILY; IF SHE GETS HIM
FIRST, SHE WILL BE HEAD.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector are the same person.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; WATER

Subject headings: 870
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
BELIEF -- Marriage

Date learned: 10-00-1970

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THE PRACTICE OF "DYNGUS"

IN POLAND, THE DAY AFTER EASTER IT IS A CUSTOM FOR THE BOYS TO SPLASH
THE GIRLS WITH WATER, IN ANY WAY THEY CAN MANAGE. THE NEXT DAY,
THEN, IT IS THE GIRLS' TURN TO TAKE THEIR REVENGE. THIS PRACTICE IS
CALLED "DYNGUS".

Submitter comment:

THIS IS A POPULAR PRACTICE IN POLAND, MY PARENTS REMEMBER.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant is collector's parent.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; WATER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Tuesday Revenge Day

Date learned: 11-04-1967

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POLISH EASTERTIDE CUSTOM

IN POLAND, ON THE FIRST DAY AFTER EASTER, POLISH BOYS ARE ALLOWED
TO SPRINKLE OR SQUIRT WATER AT ANY GIRL IN THEIR VILLAGE. PARENTS OF
THESE POLISH GIRLS EVEN ALLOW THE BOYS TO COME INTO THEIR HOMES AND
EVEN GO INTO THE BEDROOM OF THE GIRL TO SQUIRT HER WITH WATER.
THE WATER THAT THE BOYS USE MUST BE CLEAN AND NOT DIRTY. POLISH BOYS
MAY ALSO USE PERFUMES INSTEAD OF WATER. THIS CERTAIN DAY AFTER
EASTER IS CALLED "DYNGUS" DAY. BOYS REALLY RELISH THEIR OPPORTUNITY
TO CHASE GIRLS TO GET THEM WET.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; WATER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

View just this record

POLISH CUSTOM ON EASTER MONDAY--SWITCH DAY

MY MOTHER, WHO WAS BORN AND REARED IN HAMTRAMCK, MICHIGAN, SAID
IT WAS THE CUSTOM FIFTY YEARS AGO (C. 1915) FOR THE BOYS IN THE
NEIGHBORHOOD TO GET UP REAL EARLY ON THE MONDAY FOLLOWING EASTER
SUNDAY AND VISIT THE HOMES OF THE GIRLS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
SINCE THERE WAS NO SCHOOL THAT DAY THE GIRLS WOULD
BE TRYING TO SLEEP IN. THE BOYS
ALWAYS IN GROUPS OF THREE OR FOUR WOULD BE ADMITTED INTO THE HOUSE
AND IF ANY GIRLS WERE STILL IN BED THEY WOULD BE CONDUCTED, BY THE
GIRLS' MOTHER TO THE BEDROOM WHERE AMIDST MUCH PROTEST, EITHER
FEIGNED OR ACTUAL, THEY BEAT THE GIRLS ABOUT THE FEET AND ANKLES.
THEIR WEAPONS FOR THIS TASK WOULD BE WILLOW SWITCHES WHICH
WERE SOFT AND GREEN. APPARENTLY NO ONE WAS EVER HURT PHYSICALLY
BUT THE SCENE WAS USUALLY QUITE WILD. THE BOYS WOULD THEN STAY AND HAVE
BREAKFAST, USUALLY HAM OR KIELBASA LEFT OVER FROM THE PREVIOUS DAY.

Submitter comment:

(RITES OF LUPERCAL IN "JULIUS CAESAR"??)

Data entry tech comment:

Informant is collector's mother.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; RITUAL WHIPPING ; WILLOW

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

Date learned: 00-00-1946

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EASTER MONDAY

THE DAY AFTER EASTER WAS CALLED "DYNGUS DAY" OR "SWITCHING DAY."
THE MONDAY AFTER EASTER THE BOYS WOULD SWITCH THE GIRLS OR IN OTHER
WORDS THEY WOULD HIT THEM ON THE LEGS WITH A SWITCH OR A PIECE OF
STICK. IF THE BOY CAUGHT YOU AND SWITCHED YOU, YOU HAD TO GIVE HIM
SOME CANDY OR AN APPLE OR HERE IN AMERICA SOME MONEY. THE NEXT
DAY, TUESDAY, IT WAS THE GIRL'S TURN TO SWITCH THE BOYS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; informant's home

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; EASTER GIFTS ; FOOD CUSTOM ; HEALTH ; REVENGE ; RITUAL WHIPPING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Tuesday Revenge Day

Date learned: 03-11-1970

View just this record

DYNGUS DAY

ACCORDING TO OLD POLISH CUSTOM, ON EASTER MONDAY, ALL YOUNG POLISH
BOYS ARE ALLOWED TO TEASE GIRLS AND SWITCH THEM LIGHTLY WITH A
BRANCH OR TWIG ETC. THIS IS A SIGN OF SPRING AND A YOUNG BOY
BECOMING INTERESTED IN GIRLS.

Submitter comment:

IT IS A CUSTOM IN INFORMANT'S FAMILY ALSO.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; RITUAL WHIPPING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus

View just this record

SWITCH DAY

THE DAY AFTER EASTER IS KNOWN AS SWITCH DAY (DIENGUS) AMONG POLES.
ON THIS DAY BOYS BUY RED SWITCHES AND ARE ALLOWED TO TRY AND
"SWITCH" THE GIRLS. IF THEY SUCCEED, THE GIRLS MUST TAKE THEM HOME
FOR DINNER, WHERE THE GIRLS' FATHERS SEE THAT THE BOYS HAVE ALL THEY
WANT TO EAT AND DRINK. THE DAY AFTER THIS, THE SITUATION IS
REVERSED AND THE GIRLS GET TO SWITCH THE BOYS THEN TAKE THEM HOME
FOR DINNER.

Submitter comment:

THIS IS STILL A CUSTOM PRACTICED IN HAMTRAMCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; FOOD CUSTOM ; REVENGE ; RITUAL WHIPPING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Tuesday Revenge Day

Date learned: 04-10-1967

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