And you’re all like, “Hey, remember when your parents would make you pose for family photos with goats? Wasn’t that so annoying?”
Or, “Hey, how about when you wanted to go to the mall, but your parents wouldn’t let you because they were too busy plucking turkeys in the driveway. Parents! Amirite?”
And then the person you’re talking to just kind of stares at you.
And you have that awkward realization that he has absolutely no idea what you’re talking about because he has never had to pose in a family photo with goats or put up with driveway turkey-plucking.
And then you have to be all like, “Ha, ha, just kidding. My family totally never did that. Because that would just be so weird. Only really weird weirdos would do something like that, right?”
Well, I’ve been having a lot of those moments lately.
But not about my family.
Come on, I think we all knew they were weird.Instead, I’ve been having those moments about Buffalo.
Since coming home this past summer, I’ve noticed a few things that we do in this city that I just assumed other people did in other American cities. And then I start talking about those things with people who aren’t from around here, and they’re all like, “Come again?”
For example, butter lambs.
Butter lambs started popping up in the stores around Buffalo about a week or two before Easter.
And they are pretty much exactly what they sound like – a lamb made out of butter.
When I was growing up, my friends would talk about getting butter lambs for Easter dinner.
It just seemed like this thing that people did.
Mind you, my family had never had a butter lamb. But I didn’t think much about that. My parents were always depriving us of awesome things everyone else on the planet got to partake in – like sugar cereals, store bought meat and jelly sandals.
I just assumed that butter lambs were just another thing that everyone on the planet got to do except for us.
And then this weekend, I went to the Broadway Market, a big old-fashioned market in Buffalo.
I took some photos of butter lambs on display and posted them on my Facebook page.
It wasn’t until a few people asked me what the heck a butter lamb was that I realized that, oh, this is not really a thing that everyone in the world just does.
Sure, enough, after a little Google searching, I discovered all the sites for butter-lamb-related items were all Buffalo-based.
How is this even possible, guys? How is Buffalo the only place in the world that knows how adorable butter in the shape of a cute, fuzzy sheep can be?
I mean, come on.
EVERYONE should know that.And there’s Dyngus Day.
Like butter lambs, I grew up hearing about Dyngus Day but never participating in it.
Dyngus Day is kind of like the Polish version of Mardis Gras. Except instead of celebrating before the beginning of Lent, it celebrates at the end of it as it’s held on Easter Monday each year.
As with Mardis Gras, there is a parade and drinking and general revelry.
But with Dyngus Day there’s the added bonus of being able to hit people you like with pussywillows and spray them with water. Because what says, “Hey, you, I think you’re pretty special” more than hitting someone over the head with a tree branch and then dousing them with ice cold water?
I just assumed Dyngus Day was celebrated in most American cities with large Polish populations. Kind of like how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in cities with large Irish populations. Except I figured Dyngus Day would feature a lot less green beer and a lot more sauerkraut.
It turns out that Dyngus Day is yet another thing that is really not done that much outside of Buffalo – it’s not even done that much in Poland. Or, at least not to the extent that it’s done here in Buffalo.
I mean, we even have our own Dyngus Day guidebook here.
You know, because you’d hate to be hitting people over the head with pussywillows without some proper instruction.This week I got to attend my very first Dyngus Day. And it was pretty much everything I could have hoped for and more.
There was a fire-breathing dragon.
And Polish dancers.
And people dressed up as pierogies.
There were even zombies. Because, apparently, even the living dead enjoy themselves a little Dyngus.
And just like at Mardis Gras, people on the floats were throwing colored beads into the crowds.
Luckily, unlike Mardi Gras, you didn’t have to lift up your shirt to get them. As it was about fifty billion degrees below zero and blowing snow.
Because fifty billion degrees below zero and blowing snow in April?
That’s also totally a weird Buffalo thing.
And, of course, there was plenty of sauerkraut.
And Polish beer.
Which, I have to say, tasted a lot like regular beer. I was expecting something a bit more Polish-tasting. Like you know how Corona is usually served with a lime? This stuff should totally be served with a mini-pierogy or some golumpki or something.As wonderful as all the dragons and Polish zombies and sauerkraut were, my favorite part of the festivities definitely had to be the Kiel-bus-a.
Because, I mean, BEST NAME EVER.
AND they were throwing free sausage from the bus!
Free sausage, you guys! Free sausage is only like my favorite kind of sausage!
Sadly, as much as I tried, I wasn’t able to get my hands on a lucky link. So I had to ask some guy I had just met if I could take a picture of his sausage. That’s always a fun way to break the ice.
And, again, I was left wondering how this type of thing doesn’t exist in more parts of the world.
I mean, how is it that Buffalo is the only place in the world that knows how wonderful free sausage thrown from strangers in a mini-bus can be?
I mean, come on.
EVERYONE should know that.What unusual traditions or festivals does your hometown or current home celebrate?