SOUTH BEND — I write about politics. So, columns on Easter Sunday for decades were about political significance of what happens in South Bend on the day after Easter, Dyngus Day.
     
Dyngus Day is big in the South Bend area, where many residents of Polish descent live. It’s a festive event with roots going back to mass baptisms when Christianity came to Poland more than a thousand years ago. I would write on Easter Sunday about famous political figures, including presidential candidates and a past president, coming on Monday to campaign at Dyngus events.
     
Not so for the past two Easters. There was no traditional Dyngus Day to write about. No state and national political figures coming to meet throngs of celebrants at the West Side Democratic & Civic Club. No throngs. No festivities at the club where Bobby Kennedy captured such wild enthusiasm in 1968. He would go on to win the crucial Indiana presidential primary _ and would have won the presidency, had he not been assassinated so soon thereafter.
     
Two years ago, with so many things more significant than lack of kielbasa, polkas and political speeches at traditional Dyngus Day sites, I posed a question: “Is today really Easter?”
     
Well, of course it was. The killer virus couldn’t kill Easter. But I wrote of how so much was really different.Christians who pack churches on Easter weren’t able to do so. Churches were closed. Family and friends weren’t coming for big Easter gatherings, not in homes with concern about the COVID death rate.
           
Last year, the column on Easter again had no mention of politicians coming for Dyngus Day. None came. There were no traditional Dyngus Day events. And that was the least of concerns. The topic, as it was everywhere, was the pandemic, still disrupting life but less so. There was hope that it was ending. Churches were open for Easter services, although still with need for masks and distancing. Kids could color eggs again. No egg shortage. And most kids were back in the classroom. Families were getting together again, cautiously, for Easter events. Sports were back, even if fans couldn’t attend.   
     
Still, was it really Easter? The virus still could change lives, take lives, and keep Easter from seeming like Easter as we had always known it.
     
I posed another question: “Will we finally, really get together as a nation to defeat the virus, so that Sunday, April 17, 2022, really, really is Easter?”
     
While we didn’t all get together as a nation — too many played pandemic politics — vast numbers of Americans have had the vaccine, one shot, second shot, booster, second booster. Infections are down. Fewer suffer in hospitals on machines for breathing.
     
Churches will be packed on Sunday. Family Easter events are back. 
     
Perhaps we are getting too confident. New virus strains threaten. But unlike the past two Easter Sundays, this does seem really to be Easter. Really. As we had known it. It’s even possible Sunday to talk of tomorrow. There will be a Dyngus Day.
     
Events are scheduled at traditional Dyngus Day sites. Candidates will be introduced at noon at the old West Side Club. No presidential candidates.  It won’t exactly be like the past. It shouldn’t be. In addition to the festive celebrating on this event going back so long ago to roots in Poland, there should be serious tributes to the Poland of today, with its heroic reaction to the invasion of neighboring Ukraine. As we return to the fun, let’s not forget the serious, the horror of the war and the toll of the virus.

Colwell is a South Bend Tribune columnist.