Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Monday – Poniedziałek Wielkanocny

by Staś Kmieć
for the full article - Easter Traditions: The Holy Week – Wielki Tydzień check the April issue of The
Polish American Journal
The second day known as Lany Poniedziałek (Wet Monday) or Śmigus-Dyngus is a favorite among younger people. Breaking from the solemnity of Lent, youths find ways to douse each other with water. Some believe this originated in pagan times, while others derive it from
the baptism of Poland in 966. Śmigus dyngus starts at the break of dawn. Traditionally, only men doused girls with water. Maidens soaked on that day would have a greater chance of getting married that year. It is essentially a marriage of two old Easter rites. "Dyng" meant redemption; "Śmigus" (a word probably of German origin) was to hit one another with green branches, and douse with water.
Various local customs became connected to Easter Monday. Just like caroling at Christmas, chodzenie po dyngusie meant traveling from house-to-house, reciting verses of the Passion, singing, and expecting a
In Kraków, Emmaus established in memory the walk of the apostles on the road to Emmaus with the risen Christ . Processions of religious brotherhoods carry a statue of the risen Christ holding a red banner. Also in the vicinity, men smeared with soot walked along country roads and city
streets hooking arms, holding, or kissing those passing by.
On Tuesday, residents meet on the right bank of the Wisła River, where the townspeople with
their own hands once heaped the grave of Krak in a custom is called Rękawka.
Siuda Baba refers to the rites of spring, and the legend of a pagan temple in Lednica near Wieliczka where a priestess, who guarded the fire in it, would go out once a year in search of successor. She is black with soot, as the year-round duty had not afforded her time to wash. This custom is now preserved with a man dressed as a disheveled woman in tattered clothes. He carries a large cross in hand, strings of beads made of chestnuts or potatoes around his
neck, and a large basket on his back wrapped in a sheet.
In Kujawy there is przywoływek dyngusowych, where at dusk on Easter Sunday or Easter Monday morning, boys affiliated with the Stowarzyszeniu Klubu Kawalerów (Bachelors’ Club) walk in procession to the village square with a large orchestra. On a platform, high tree, or the roof of the inn, they recite verses about the local girls. Praising or ridiculing them, they accept how much water will be shed to secure a meeting with a girl or to protect her from malicious mischief.

In the southern Małopolska area, mainly in the area of Limanowa, men disguisers called dziady śmigustne or słomiaki wore high hats and outfits braided from straw and went through the village in silence asking for offerings. As according to legend – emissaries who did not want to believe in the resurrection of Christ and proclaim the good news, lost their voices as a punishment. In the area of Mielec silent mówiące beggars pour water from containers with wishes for a good harvest.
In central Poland – Rawa Mazowiecka, Lowicz, Sieradz and Łęczyca, and also in the Śląsk and Wielkopolska regions, kurkiem po dyngusie is observed. A clay or stuffed rooster is placed on a decorated red two-wheeled cart. In ancient times a live rooster was sacrificed to the deities of
fertility and harvest. Kurcarskie celebrations are held in the spirit of courtship and intended to promote the pairing of young couples to provide descendants. The rooster for centuries has been a symbol of strength, beauty and masculinity. Songs and jokes were rewarded with eggs, sausage, cakes and money.