It’s called Smingus Dyngus, and it’s the Monday after Easter Sunday. This year, it’s Monday, April 22.
Tradition is to soak everyone with water. It comes from the Pagan custom of welcoming spring by washing away impurities, but has since been combined with the Christian baptism.
Recently made popular in Buffalo NY, our Miata Club tradition is still evolving. But it includes at a minimum, dinner out at Cajun Steamers in Franklin in the Cool Springs area. Wait. What? A Polish celebration at a Cajun restaurant? I know, I know. It’s a long story.
But, anyway, we promise… the only thing we’ll be sprinkling will be some spirits into glasses to toast good friends, good food, and good roads! More about the Cajuns later.
Formerly, the post-Easter festivities involved a week of secular celebration, but this was reduced to one day in the 19th century. Events include egg rolling competitions and, in predominantly Catholic countries, dousing other people with water which, at one time, had been holy water blessed the day before at Easter Sunday Mass and carried home to bless the house and food.
A Club tradition as peculiar as the holiday
Though not largely observed in the United States the day remains informally observed in some areas such as the state of North Carolina the state of North Dakota and the city of Buffalo, New York. Traditionally Polish areas of the country such as South Bend, Indiana and Chicago observe Dingus Day as well. Dyngus Day is a holiday, along with Good Friday, in most of Canada (and many other Commonwealth countries). Along with Good Friday, Easter Monday (aka, Dyngus Day) is a Bank Holiday in the United Kingdom (except Scotland), making a four-day weekend.
So, back to the Cajuns. The truth be known, a few years ago, a few of us were just out for dinner at one of our favorite Cajun restaurants, reminiscing about the sights, sounds and tastes of New Orleans. Someone unmentioned (Bill Fairman) mentioned that it was Dyngus Day — more well-known in the North where he grew up. We decided that it was as good an excuse as any to get together for good times and great food with friends. And ever since then, Dyngus Day is Cajun food day for us!
So come join us at 6:30pm at the Cajun Steamers, 1175 Meridian Blvd Ste 108, Franklin, TN 37067. If you are planning on joining us, please let Phil Matisak know at so he can ensure we have adequate reservations — and crawfish. Email Phil for any other questions, as well.
Oh….and our tradition is to enjoy a little Dyngus Day trivia, and have some of our Club’s best orators raise their glasses for a favorite or newly conjured toast in honor of the special day. So, bring your best trivia question to try to stump our Polish heritage members, and practice your toast. There may be prizes!
And ultimately, let’s wash away the memories of a long, hard winter. Let’s celebrate Spring. Dang, LET’S EAT!
Happy Dyngus Day to All!
Some pictures from last year