A blog about a life awakened and rejuvenated around Western New York.

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I’m that guy… well sort of. I guess you can call my “traditional”, set in my ways, and I won’t debate you on it. I come by my stubbornness honestly. I come from a long line of “traditional” folk.

And I’ve come to find a lot of my routine stemming from my ethnicity. Tracing as far back as I can (without breaking any laws) my Polish pureness keeps me tethered to the rites and commitments handed down. Holidays are truly celebrations, each with their own nuances and idiosyncrasies. Our Christmases and Easters rooted in Polish tradition, are truly memorable.

There’s a phrase that had been floated around the house growing up in Lackawanna, New York (suburb of Buffalo). Big meals were labeled by my father, as my mother “cooking for a Polish wedding”. And that brings me to a whole new, but equally flashy set of traditions. As we near the wedding of our oldest daughter soon, we begin to get ‘traditional”.

But here’s the rub. Generations tend to go off script, and the ethnic celebrations scare the hell out of my girls. “Dad, you’re not going to do that ‘Polish’ thing at my wedding, are you?” “That Polish thing!” Flashbacks to our own nuptials brings scene of this vividly to mind. The Oczepiny Ceremony! That “Polish thing”!

In a nutshell, the Oczepiny is the “unveiling of the bride”. It signifies she is no longer a single young woman or bride. Now she is a wife. Her veil is removed and a small cap replaces it. Songs are sung by the families and then “Daddy’s little girl” dances with her father. And just so he’s not feeling left out, the husband is adorned with a hat of his own. The tradition has the hat decorated with objects that remind him of his responsibilities. Baby dolls and coins, rolling pins and fruit. There is one catch. Did I mention the hat is usually quite bawdy, to signify his virility? (In case you question the fruit!) So as I construct the hat (being that traditional guy) I’m of a mixed mind. This is my daughter’s husband after all.

And my biggest quandary is how do I tastefully incorporate these two lemons and the banana?

Strike up the band, Tevye! Tradition, Tradition! TRADITION!