Sunday, April 8, 2012

Buffalo and Tradition

This Easter holy week, I've done a lot of thinking about tradition. I've retold the stories of what this week was like growing up in my Polish Catholic family numerous times. How Holy Thursday meant I was spending the night with my Grandma Sondel and cousin Samantha, and we did the tour of the seven Churches with some of her friends and their grandchildren. It always ended with a late night dinner of pizza and wings at Bob & John's on Hertel.

Good Friday we woke up early to dye Easter eggs and make Easter chocolate. When 12pm came around (the observed time of the Passion of Jesus) we couldn't watch TV or listen to the radio and we prayed the rosary until 3pm.

Holy Saturday was always celebrated on my Mom's side of the family as the Polish Easter Swieconka. We took our baskets of food (and candy) and had them blessed at St. Amelia's Parish in Tonawanda. We then celebrated Easter that afternoon with a typical Polish feast.

So much tradition. Which is something Buffalo is so good at: keeping traditions alive, and remembering the past. This Holy Week I spent some time at The Broadway Market on Good Friday. The hustle and bustle inside was pure insanity, but, controlled insanity. The small girls running around in their Polish Easter crowns, red Polish t-shirts being worn and purchased by so many, the numerous people buying their butter lambs, Polish sausage, cross breads, and pussy willows, all made me smile. It was such a wonderful thing to see.

When I went to Church the next morning on Easter Swieconka to bless my baskets, there seemed to be more people there then I remembered. So many families, a lot with small children, who hopefully will continue the traditions.

It's not just Easter in Buffalo, but all holidays. People here care about tradition. We take the time to honor the past, and we have such great pride and appreciation for each other's traditions. That was so evident to me this Holy Week in Buffalo.

We are a city about community. We are a city who comes together so many times throughout the year to remember, honor, and make new traditions. As Holy Week wraps up, and the hustle and bustle begins to die down, our city is busy preparing for the next tradition to come alive here.

I get that traditions are a part of all families all over the world, but this week I had another reminder about how lucky I am to have grown up in Buffalo, NY. How lucky we all are here to be able to share traditions, relive old stories, and begin to make new ones together.

To all my Polish friends out there, I wish you all the most wonderful Dyngus Day (a celebration that is off the charts here in Buffalo, and I'd say a second behind Poland). Keep your eye out for pussy willows and squirt guns! If you aren't Polish, but taking the time to celebrate with the Buffalo Polish in the area, take a minute to ask one of them what the holiday is all about! I can almost guarantee any of them would know, and be happy to tell you.

Please feel free to comment on this entry with some of your Easter traditions. I'd love to learn about other heritages and some of the traditions you celebrate this week.

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