Happy Dyngus Day! — Here’s everything to know about the holiday celebrated after Easter Sunday!
1. Dyngus Day is a Polish, Polish-American holiday. — It is celebrated the day after Easter, on Easter Monday, primarily in Poland and the Ukraine. Dyngus day, also known as “Śmigus-Dyngus” means “Wet Monday.” Dyngus is sometimes spelled “Dingus” and loosely means worthy, proper or suitable. Celebrations are also held in Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as all around the world. Dyngus day is also celebrated in Hungary, where it is known as “Water Plunge Day.”
2. What happens on Dyngus Day? — It dates back to the baptism of Prince Mieszko I on Easter Monday in 966 A.D, according to Newsweek. The act of sprinkling water on the holiday is an expression of gratefulness that the first Polish king was baptized, and that Catholicism entered Poland. It is tradition that single boys throw water over single girls and gently hit them with pussy willow branches, typically on the leg, to express interest. Single girls can reciprocate the act on the next day, Tuesday by throwing dishes and crockery at the boys. The water is supposed to represent cleansing, purification and fertility, as a reference to the Baptism of the prince. In modern day celebrations, participants use water squirt guns, as opposed to older days when buckets were used. And, some boys use cologne instead of water. Other rituals are performed, including, making verse declarations and holding door-to-door processions. In some regions boys will dress as bears.
3. What do people eat on Dyngus Day? — Polish foods are consumed on Dyngus Day, which include, but are not limited to pierogis, potato pancakes, chicken noodle soup, kielbasa, custard filled donuts, stuffed cabbage, ham, eggs, breads and lamb-shaped butter. Polka dancing is also very common at these large community festivals.
4. Dyngus day is filled with celebrations and parties. — Vibrant parades and parties are held throughout the mid-morning on Monday and last until after sunrise on Tuesday. Polka music is traditionally played, and it’s custom that those who participate in the celebrations dance at least once.
5. The biggest U.S. celebration occurs in Buffalo, New York. — There is a large Polish-American community there, which is referred to as the Dyngus capital of America. It began in 1961.