Monday, April 13, 2009
Happy Bright Monday/Dyngus Day
Bright Monday is Easter Monday. The Orthodox, of course, have many traditions associated with it, as you can read here. Especially fascinating is this one:
Since the entire week of Pascha, otherwise known as Bright week, is the "eighth day", and according to the Lord, " in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven" (Matthew 22:30), it is a pious tradition that those who are married "be as the angels". This is abstinence not because of fasting, as marital abstinence otherwise is, but because of the joy of the resurrection. Not everyone can bear this, and the marriage bed is undefiled in any case, but for those who can observe this custom, there is profound meaning.
We are also warned of this danger:
It is very easy to feast with foods, and let down spiritually, and forget the inner feast of Pascha. Too much rich food makes it impossible to pray. It also can incite other serious passions, such as lust, anger and despondency. Sometimes people hardly pray during this week, because of overeating, and tiredness. The mind of the church, in her ascetical tradition, has always known this. The church lessens the prayer rule during Bright week so that it is easy to pray, but only if we continue to make an effort, and do not over abuse our freedom to eat delicious foods. We emulated the Apostles and the Myrrh bearing women by proclaiming "Christ is risen" multiple times during the Paschal vigil, likewise, let us emulate them in joyful, although abbreviated prayer during the period of Bright week.
Today the Poles are celebrating (?) "Dyngus Day" by having the men chase the women with squirt guns, drenching them, and switching their legs with pussy willows. Tomorrow the ladies get to throw crockery at the men. Go figure.