Monday, April 25, 2011

Dyngus Day in Buffalo

The Legendary Frank Gorshin, Riddler from Batman, along with Eddy Dobosiewicz and members of the Polish Heritage Dancers at the Dyngus Day celebration at St. Stans, Buffalo, New York

When I moved to Buffalo I learned about a Polish Festival that is held
every year on the day after Easter.


The legend of Dyngus Day goes back to the year 966?

Can you really find your TRUE love on Dyngus Day?

Historically a Polish-American tradition, Dyngus Day celebrates the end of the often restrictive observance of lent and the joy of Easter. Over the decades, Dyngus Day has become a wonderful holiday to celebrate Polish-American culture, heritage and traditions.

There are many stories that attempt to explain the origins of the day. Many Polish customs date back to pre-Christian practices of our Slavic ancestors. The custom of pouring water is an ancient spring rite of cleansing, purification, and fertility.

The same is true of the complimentary practice of switching with pussy willow branches.

Since 966 A.D., Dyngus Day has been associated with the baptism of Prince Mieszko I. Tradition states that Prince Mieszko I along with his court were baptized on Easter Monday.

Thus, Dyngus Day and its rites of sprinkling with water have become a folk celebration in thanksgiving for the fact that the first king of Poland was baptized into Christianity, bringing Catholicism to Poland.

In more modern times, the tradition continued when farm boys in Poland wanted to attract notice from the girls of their choice. It was the custom to throw water and hit the girls on their legs with twigs or pussywillows.

The ladies would reciprocate by throwing dishes & crockery and Tuesday was their day of revenge, imitating the same tactics


The word can be traced back to a medieval form of the word “Dingnus,” which means “worthy, proper, or suitable.”

Dyngus Day was always celebrated in traditional Polish neighborhoods dated back to the 1870s, modern Dyngus Day in Buffalo had its start in 1961.

Buffalo, New York is officially the Dyngus Capital of America with the largest concentration of festival locations and live polka music. Smaller festivals can be found in community with sizable Polish-America populations such as South Bend, Indiana, Chicago, Illinois, Elizabeth, New Jersey, Bristol, Connecticut and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

As the popular polka anthem explains, “Everybody’s Polish On Dyngus Day!” Many parties begin during the mid-morning on the Monday after Easter with a large buffet of traditional Easter foods (kielbasa, ham, fresh breads, eggs). It is common to hear polka music on Dyngus Day with the mandatory dancing of at least one polka. Many parties continue well into daylight on Tuesday.

Pussy Willows, Piwo, Polkas, Parades, Parties and a Plethora of Polish Pride...

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