5th annual St. Casimir's "Bal Sylwestrowy" party
We decided to spend New Year's Eve at the 5th annual St. Casimir's "Bal Sylwestrowy" party that took place in the parish hall of the Polish church andfeatured three different buffets over the course of the evening, as well as festive music to dance to by Polish DJ's John and Mark, a father and son team.
Moreover, when we mentioned to Mr. Joe Feckanin that we hadn't seen the interior of the church since it was decorated for the holidays, he immediately offered to take us on a tour. Mr. Feckanin really loves his church and loves his faith so he readily took us next door to the cathedral and turned on the appropriate lights so that we could absorb the full effect of its beauty. He then explained to us its history and the significance of all of the artwork.
At 630pm a delicious buffet of appetizers was served that presented us with several vegetarian options including a delicious potato salad that contained peas and carrots; to be sure, we had several helpings and cheated on our veggie diet a little bit by eating a couple of pierogies stuffed with beef.
Around 9pm dinner was served that contained several meat dishes with mashed potatoes and a terrific beet salad. The food was prepared by Ms. Irene Honc Judlos, Mr. Konrad Szymanski, and several other parishioners who tried to put as much Polish flavor into the delectable dishes as possible. A man of good humor, Father Eric Orzech kidded his congregation by saying that he was called upon to give the blessing in order to make the calories magically disappear.
Father Orzech explained to us that the initial Polish immigrants to the United States were very poor and could seldom afford meat dishes like the ones we were consuming but it was customary for the early immigrants to "scrimp and save" in order to enjoy a good meal over the holidays not unlike Bob Cratchit and his family from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" who Father Orzech compared them to.
Between eating and dancing we chatted with quite a few of the parishioners including our friend, Stanislav who was very active in the successful challenge of the church closures a few year's ago including that of St. Casimir. We also visited with an administrator from the Cleveland Clinic who was well-versed in the H1B visa process and has helped process the immigration paperwork of quite a few people who work there.
At midnight, the last meal of the evening was served that consisted of Hunter's Stew (aka "Bigos Stew") containing cabbage and meat and "Barszcz Czerwony" which is beetroot soup served with croquets. It was explained to us that it is common in Europe to provide a late meal to attendees of midnight parties because it balances out the effects of the alcohol that was consumed earlier. For us, this is common sense and we would like to see this practice put to use more often in the United States.
Along these lines, on behalf of Margaret W. Wong and Associates, we wish a safe and happy new year to all of our readers!!!!
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC