Dyngus Day Festivities at the Polish Eagles Sports Club set for Easter Monday
For centuries, Easter Monday has been an eventful day for Eastern European cultures, especially for Poles. Smigus-dyngus, referred to in America as Dyngus Day, is an annual celebration held on Easter Monday that commemorates the cultures of the countries from which the celebration originated. Many Polish-American communities in Buffalo and Cleveland host some of the largest Dyngus Day celebrations in the country. But you needn’t take a trip to either of those cities to participate in Dyngus Day festivities, because a similar celebration is coming to the Riverwards.
On Easter Monday, April 17th, the Polish Eagles Sports Club (3157 East Thompson Street) will host Dyngus Day Festivities from 3PM – 8PM. The event is being sponsored by members of the Port Richmond Business Alliance (PRBA), many of whom are of Polish ancestry. All proceeds from the event will go to local Catholic schools and Polish American Social Services (PASS).
“As members of the Alliance, we wanted to make this event possible for the neighborhood,” said Sandra Tomaszewski, president of the PRBA. “We want our neighbors to come out and spend the day with family and friends and be merry together. And we want the Alliance to be able to get on a more personal level with our neighborhood, with our community.”
The celebration is for people of all ages and ethnicities; you do not necessarily have to be Polish. The entertainment includes performances by the PKM Dancers, the Music Box Band and the Polish American String Band. There will also be activities for the children, such as arts and crafts and face-painting. The Dinner House and Donna’s Bar will provide the food and drinks.
Traditionally, Dyngus Day has included a number of slightly unconventional activities. Boys, for example, throw water at girls and spank them with pussy willow branches. Though these practices are still carried out, they are done so in a much more controlled, family-friendly manner.
Founded in March 2014, the PRBA works to establish a favorable business climate in Port Richmond in order to cultivate a sense of unity among the members of the community.
“The Alliance is all about we and not about me,” said Jim Skowronski, co-founder of the PRBA. “That’s what our motto is. We started this thinking that there was a need in the neighborhood for us to come together. We saw different things we thought might need a little bit of improvement, and we wanted to give back to the community.”
The cost of the event is $10 per ticket. Children under 12 are admitted for free. •