Toast of the Town … 4/6/12

Hey all you single guys and gals, Monday is the day to make your move.

When it comes to good food and great times, Hamtramck has plenty to offer. In this column, we’ll talk about what’s happening at our bars, restaurants and other events that can be found throughout the city.

By Alan Madeleine

Who are you inviting to your Dingus Day?

More formally known as Easter Monday (the day after Easter Sunday), or even, in Poland, “Wet Monday,” it’s actually celebrated in a variety of ways around the Christian world.

However, the term “Dingus Day,” or “Smigus-Dingus,” is particular to the Poles. So, why am I reminded of a certain Monty Python bit set in Ancient Rome?

Particularly big in Eastern Europe, especially Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it’s also characterized by the odd custom of young male suitors waking their intendeds by splashing them with buckets full of water, smacking them on the legs with birch or willow switches, and so on.

In fact, women have, in recent years, turned the tables some, and now do this as well to the boys!

And while we don’t necessarily expect to see much of those kinds of shenanigans going on in public – unfortunately – it would be pretty special to see our town’s young folk running around in their nightshirts, nailing each other with super soakers and whacking each other with saplings.

Well? Wouldn’t it? Kind of like a “Thirst Games”?

But I digress.

Stateside, the pseudo-holiday is big here – oddly, it may be even bigger now than it was when the city was predominantly Polish.

Wyandotte also has some fun with it, apparently. It’s also a big deal in Buffalo, New York, as well as South Bend, Indiana (think about it), and North Dakota. Other areas, for example in North Carolina and parts of Texas, recognize the day as a holiday.

Locally, the New Dodge Lounge is having a big to-do on the day of. Starting at 10 a.m., they’ll feature Polish beer and vodka specials, bands and a DJ, a polka contest, and more.

Should you bring a squirt gun? We didn’t tell you to.

Some of our prominent local Polish families have their own stories. Joan Bittner, of the Polish Art Center, remembers when daughter Kathleen went to Poland with her father, and ill-advisedly wore bright green PJ-like pants, rendering her a constant target of soakings all day long. Most of the local women, Joan Bittner says, knew to stay indoors!

Resident Cindy Cervenak recalls an incident involving Fr. Darrell Roman, now with Sweetest Heart of Mary but then (in the late 90s or early 00s, she thought) here at St. Florian, where he outfoxed some of the altar servers by dousing them with a bucket of water from above on the church’s front steps, even as they were plotting the same on him!

The moral of this story? If you’re out and about on Monday in Hamtramck, you might want to wear your raingear.

Do you know of a cool bar, a great restaurant or just a nice place to hang out? If you have tips on special events or just want to shine some light on your favorite spot send a message to or call us at (313) 874-2100.

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