An ethnic end to Lent - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

An ethnic end to Lent, Polish enclaves and others celebrate Easter Monday

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Parade participants showcased the Polish holiday. Parade participants showcased the Polish holiday.
Ms. Dyngus 2012 Deanna Domino Sierputowski will always be a spokeswoman for the merrymaking. Ms. Dyngus 2012 Deanna Domino Sierputowski will always be a spokeswoman for the merrymaking.
Two sisters of Polish heritage showcase the Polish military eagle on a sign. Two sisters of Polish heritage showcase the Polish military eagle on a sign.
Clevelanders celebrated Dyngus Day to mark the Polish end of Lent. Clevelanders celebrated Dyngus Day to mark the Polish end of Lent.
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Clevelanders are celebrating the city's Fourth Annual Dyngus Day. Dyngus Day marks the end of Lent, or Easter Monday, in the Polish tradition.

The music blaring on the street corner along Detroit on Cleveland's west side is the stereotypical sound of everything Polish. The sounds drew Katie Gover into Cleveland's Dyngus Day celebration. She isn't Polish by heritage but is enjoying the seasonal jubilee nonetheless.

"The more holidays, the better. The more to celebrate, I say, the better," Gover remarked.

To mark the end of Lent polish sausage is served, there's polka dancing and even a runner up on the 70s "Gong Show." 

Phil Yan's the leader of the Hobo Polka Band.

He commented, "We actually came in second place.  A juggler beat us out," says Yan.

The festivities all stem from the Polish traditions from "The Old Country."

"What the boys would do is throw water on the girls if they liked them, and the girls would beat them up with pussy willow branches," says Cheryl Polak of Independence.

"The pussy willow brances were passed out in churches on Palm Sunday," reflected one Polish man from Parma. "Whatever they had available to give out at the ethinic churches, whatever was blooming in Cleveland, that's what they'd give out because they didn't have palms in Europe."

Revelers didn't see any pussy willow beatings, but every year the celebration of the season snowballs. 

The woman crowned Ms. Dyngus 2012 knows that for a fact.

"People are proud to be polish. People also enjoy kitchey things. We just have a good time. No one takes themselves too seriously," Deanna Domino Sierputowski remarked. 

The celebrations took place in more than 30 bars and businesses in the Shoreway, Ohio City and Tremont.

The events included a one-mile race, a Miss Dyngus Day pageant and even an accordion parade.

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