|Masaya outside the legendary Broadway Market|
Well my friends, I hope an pray you all had a wonderful weekend. There was so much going on here in Western New York and around the world. Here in Buffalo, many of us celebrated Passover, Easter Sunday and today, Dyngus Day. Now, i know many of you are saying, what the hell is Dyngus Day? So before I go into that, I have to tell you about my day at the famous Buffalo entity, The Broadway Market.
I have no idea what possessed me to go to the Broadway Market on Good Friday, with two children, by myself at 11 o'clock in the morning. To the more experienced shopper around this time of year, you already know that this is madness. But, this being my first time to the market around this time of year, I was not warned about what I would encounter. As I rode up Fillmore Ave, I was shocked that traffic suddenly stopped. Then I saw it, the line of cars and I knew I should just turn back and forget the whole thing. I didn't. And after about 15 minutes of waiting, I found some street parking, got the kids out the car and headed up the street. I won't relive that the crowded, busy, claustrophobic, sardine can that was the Broadway Market at that time, but I will say that I got to see nothing and all I could do was get two plants for my grandmother and escaped with my children in tow. Now before you get disappointed, never fear…became I went back!
Yes, I went back around 5pm that same day and can I say, it was a totally different experience. It was still pretty busy, but I could move around easily, ask the vendors questions and really take in all that the market has to offer. I was really impressed and wanted to know more. The history of the Broadway Market and its products actually date back to 1888. And I'm the type of person who can respect history of any kind. As I walked through, I felt the kind of excitement in the year that normally comes with holidays, but this was something different. Usually, folks joke that this is the only time the Broadway Market is busy and its a ghost town normally. This may be true, but the vendors who sell their goods there are in the market everyday. They are dedicated to that place and that trumps any holiday in my mind and its something that it missing today…loyalty and dedication. And I did get everything on my list during that second trip, including my butter lamb.
Now, onto Dyngus Day, which is another reason the market is so busy during Easter weekend, really the whole week leading up to Easter and the day after. Now, I know a few years ago, Anderson Cooper made fun of Dyngus Day, more so the term "pussywillow king". Oh Anderson. But the Dyngus Day celebration here in Buffalo is actually the largest in North America.
"Śmigus-Dyngus (also known as lany poniedziałek, meaning "Wet Monday") is a celebration held on Easter Monday in Poland. It is also observed by Polish diaspora communities, particularly among Polish Americans, who call it Dyngus Day. Similar celebrations are held in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (Oblévačka in Czech, Oblievačka in Slovak, both meaning "Watering") and in Hungary, where it is known as Vízbevető or Water Plunge Monday. Traditionally, boys throw water over girls and spank them with pussy willow branches on Easter Monday, and girls do the same to boys on Easter Tuesday. 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. The origins of the celebration are uncertain, but it may date to pagan times (before 1000 AD); it is described in writing as early as the 15th century. It continues to be observed in central Europe, and also in the United States, where certain patriotic American elements have been added to the traditional Polish ones."
"The Buffalo Dyngus celebrations only started in the 1960s as an effort by the Polish-American community in the city to find a new focus for its identity. It proved hugely successful, to the point that a local newspaper claimed that "everybody is Polish on Dyngus Day." It has become a fusion of Polish and American traditions, with polka bands, a parade, and Polish food accompanying American patriotic songs sung in English. Party-goers dress up in the red-and-white colors of the Polish flag and carry balloons saying "Happy Dyngus Day" in English.
Now there's a lot more to the Dyngus Day celebrations then just balloons, but I can't write them all on here, so I advise you all to check out http://www.dyngusday.com for more information about all the festivities. And I charge you all to check out the Broadway Market next year. Pick up some beautiful wooden Easter eggs and a butter lamb. Have a safe and wonderful weekend my friends!!!