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James Callow Folklore Archive

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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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