|Snagged from the Internet|
I never heard of Dyngus Day before today. It all started with me trying to find out why Easter Monday is mentioned so often as a holiday in many parts of the world. Then I found out about Dyngus Day, a Catholic holiday that is celebrated on the day after Easter and is a big deal in some places.
Let me tell you a little about what I discovered about the holiday: first of all, the biggest celebration of dyngus in the United States is in Buffalo, New York, which apparently has a large Polish community. From Wikipedia:
The Buffalo dyngus celebrations started in the 1960s as an effort by the Polish-American community in the city to find a new focus for its identity. It proved hugely successful, to the point that a local newspaper claimed that "everybody is Polish on Dyngus Day." It has become a fusion of Polish and American traditions, with polka bands, a parade, consumption of krupnik, and Polish food accompanying American patriotic songs sung in English. Party-goers dress up in the white-and-red colors of the Polish flag and carry balloons saying "Happy Dyngus Day" in English.
The actual full title for the celebration is Śmigus-dyngus, and this odd post-Easter party is carried out by boys throwing water over girls they like and spanking them with pussy willows. Boys would sneak into girls' homes at daybreak on Easter Monday and throw containers of water over them while they were still in bed. If you look carefully at the picture at the top of this post, this information will help to decipher the images of pussy willows and buckets of water. The article goes on to explain how the girls would respond.
Girls could save themselves from a soaking by giving boys "ransoms" of painted eggs (pisanki), regarded as magical charms that would bring good harvests, successful relationships and healthy childbirths.
The article also mentions how other places around the world celebrate the day. How could I have missed hearing about this fun tradition for so long? Did you already know that today is Dyngus Day?