Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘Polish traditions


I admit that I derived pleasure from participating in my first ever Śmigus-Dyngus or Wet Monday. Niko and I (well mostly I) couldn’t resist partaking in this Polish tradition that Borys and his dad filled us in on yesterday. Basically it’s an Easter Monday custom where people are permitted to splash others with water all day, catching them unaware – I am guessing it has something to do with the messages of rebirth and renewal signified on Easter.

I looked the origins up on Wikipedia and among other things found this part interesting: “With much of Poland’s population residing in tall apartment buildings, high balconies are favorite hiding places for young people who gleefully empty full buckets of water onto randomly selected passers-by”. This sounds to be both painful and shocking. For now, as this is the first time we’ve celebrated Dyngus Day, Niko and I merely splashed a few droplets of water on Daddy’s face while he was sleeping, only for him to roll over and with a half smile grumble, “Śmigus-Dyngus, Śmigus-Dyngus”, and then cover his head and fall back to sleep.


Three vodka shooters down the hatch by 9 am, and (although there were some similarities) I couldn’t help but notice the obvious differences between celebrating Easter with my future in-laws and the traditions that I grew up with. I clearly (or by that point, maybe not so clearly…) remember thinking, “Wow, this is so different from Easter with my family.” That was probably about ten years ago, and I’m a big believer of When in Rome, but this tradition was a bit hard to swallow – literally. Of course, I was trying to make a good impression, seeing as it was our first Easter together, so with a smile, down the hatch with all that vodka. (Sort of like the time I tried to impress the in-laws by eating almost a full plate of steak tartar, but that’s another story.)

Now, it’s a decade later and I still don’t think I’ve mastered the art of shooting vodka correctly. Apparently you’re not supposed to actually taste it: just open up, throw it in, and swallow. My version, however, is often followed up by a whole body shiver, eyes closed tightly and “blech”. Since that first Easter I’ve stopped trying to impress my in-laws (so much) and resign myself to maybe half a vodka shooter when the time comes – just for tradition’s sake.

As far as Easter goes, on Borys’ side the major thing is a traditional Polish breakfast: sausages, hard boiled eggs, bread, cheese, pickles, pickled beets, pickled mushrooms, pickled etc. And beyond breakfast and vodka, there’s Egg Wars: basically we all adopt a hard boiled egg (died with onion peels) and then go head to head trying to smash our opponent’s egg. Whoever is left standing with at least one end of their egg uncracked is the winner.

Now, bring on Egg Wars, bring on the sunshine (forecast 25 today!), bring on the pickled herring, and bring on the Easter fun. Happy Easter everyone. Na zdrowie!


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