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Monday, April 13, 2009

Dyngus Day, The Polish holiday

Dyngus Day is the name for the day after Easter, the end of Lent, and a festive tradition in the
Buffalo area, where there's a large Polish-American population.

Since its debut to Yogi’s Grill and Bar in 1994, Dyngus Day, the Polish holiday that marks the end of Easter weekend, has been a “great way for people to get back to the vices they gave up for Lent,” said Chris Karl, manager and co-owner of Yogi’s Grill and Bar.

Karl said he would describe Dyngus Day as a cross between St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween because of the drink specials and the way people dress.

Dyngus Day took on political flavor decades back because the Dyngusing crowds on the Monday after Easter in the Polish-American neighborhoods on South Bend's West Side provided an opportunity for candidates in the upcoming May primary to meet and greet voters.

There will be some political figures this year because serious candidates for 2010 or even 2012 need already to be out and about, gaining name recognition, organizing and fundraising.

Dyngus Day has been described as a Polish version of St. Patrick's Day. Both days have roots in religion from centuries past in nations from which came the ancestors of many Americans.

Everybody is Irish at a St. Patrick's Day celebration. Everybody is Polish at a Dyngus Day celebration.

Even with the political flavor, the friendly spirit of Dyngus prevails among those of different cultures, of different races, of different religions, of different political views. Everybody shows respect for the diversity and seeks understanding. Well, not quite everybody.

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