Dyngus Day is a Polish tradition that is celebrated on Easter Monday and is a fun, light hearted celebration.
On Dyngus Day, (pronounced dingus), tradition has it that men would toss water on girls that they liked, and the girls playfully would hit the boys on the back of their legs with pussy willow branches if they returned their affections.
Photo Source: Wilson's Almanac free daily ezine
Circa 1910 Dyngus Day, Detroit, MIchigan
Photo Source: Wayne State University
The history of Dyngus Day dates back to the Easter Monday 966 A.D. baptism of the Polish prince Mieszko I. This was a significant baptism because it was taken by the Polish people to mean that all of Poland was Christian. Since baptism is thought to relate to purification, cleansing and fertility, the idea somehow adapted into Dyngus Day and boys soaking girls with water. Dyngus Day water traditions also relate to the mass Lithuanian baptisms that took place after the Lithuanian Duke, Jagiello, and the Polish Queen, Jadwiga were married.
Buffalo, New York is the unofficial Dyngus Day capital with the most festival locations and parades. Smaller festivals can be found in many areas where there is a sizable amount of Polish Americans.
Last year Anderson Cooper included Dyngus Day on his television segment known as "The Ridiculist." Anderson Cooper's 70 second giggle fit about Buffalo's Dyngus Day festival caused local and national controversy.
Thanks to You Tube, if you are interested you can watch that segment of Anderson Coopers, "The Ridiculist" from April 2012.
The next evening Anderson Cooper explains and apologized for his on air laughing jag.
Anderson Cooper was invited to attend the 2013 Dyngus Day celebration in Buffalo New York, and would be given the honor of becoming the first Pussy Willow Prince. It has been announced that Mr. Cooper will be unable to attend Dyngus Day because of scheduling conflicts.
My family did not participate in this particular Polish tradition. Dyngus Day is a silly, fun filled celebration that gives people a reason to watch a parade, drink piwo (Polish for beer), eat kielbasa and pierogis, listen to music, and dance the polka.
Happy Dyngus Day! Na zdrowie (Naz-droh-vee-ay) Cheers,