Bellaire Public Library’s first Dyngus Day celebration a success

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM Dyngus Day organizers Stan Fedyszyn, from left, Theresa Kwiatkowski and Samantha McAfee take part in the event Monday.

BELLAIRE — Organizers said the Bellaire Public Library’s first-ever Dyngus Day celebration on Monday evening was a success.

Dyngus Day, a Polish term, translates to “Wet Monday” in English and is a 1,200-year-old traditional Polish holiday celebrated the Monday following Easter Sunday.

More than 40 people were waiting to enter the room to enjoy the entertainment and festivities as they got underway. More people continued to come in throughout the event.

The event was celebrated downstairs in the meeting room of the library and involved traditional food, music and dance. The wide array of delicacies included pierogis, kielbasa, cabbage and noodles, cucumbers and cream, beets, bread and butter, and numerous sweets. Water and tea were offered to drink, and according to the master of ceremony and event organizer Stan Fedysyn, people in the “old country” drink only black tea, the women take it with lemon and sugar, which they provided.

Polish colors of red and white decorated the entire room. Table centerpieces included red and white carnations and pussy willow branches.

Attendees were provided with the pussy willow branches so that they could re-enact the Dyngus Day traditions.

Fedyszyn, who grew up in an active Polish community in Buffalo, N.Y., said the library would definitely be doing this event again next year. Dyngus Day is one of the biggest Polish holidays celebrated next to Christmas and Easter, Fedyszyn explained.

Traditional Polish dances including the Polka and Mazurkas were part of the event. The music was performed by concertinist Charley Tansic, out of Canton, Ohio, and drummer Rich Biela, a local resident. They have been playing traditional Polish music for many years. Tansic explained that he learned the music from his grandmother when he was just a child. As he grew older he realized there was not much Polish music around.

“If I wanted to hear the songs, I had to play them myself,” he said.

At the end of the event, the organizers planned to appoint a queen. The only stipulation was that she must return next year to pass her crown to the following queen.

The event was completely free to attendees.