What is Dyngus Day you ask? Let me tell you!
The Monday after Easter Sunday is typically a post-Lenten party held by many people of Polish decent. Śmigus-Dyngus (also known as lany poniedziałek, meaning “Wet Monday”) is commonly celebrated on that Monday in Poland and in many heavily Polish communities in America. Buffalo commonly has a Dyngus Day Celebration that is one of, if not the largest, in the US. We here in Buffalo take our Dyngus Day very seriously, even after Anderson Cooper’s giggle-fit in 2012. He drew the ire of Buffalonians’, and was forced to apologize. Organizers even extended an open invitation to him to be the Pussy-Willow Prince in the next year's festivities. He ended up declining, but the rest of America got a first hand view of our obsession with Dyngus Day.
So what the hell is it? What happens? Well, the common theme is for girls to be sprayed with water, and then hit with pussy-willows. Yeah pretty strange, huh? The festival traditionally celebrated 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. Hence your squirt guns and pussy-willows, but here in Buffalo, it’s also an opportunity for Non-Polish people to try traditional Polish fare and have some vodka. We’ve had a parade here in Buffalo since the 60’s, and the festival is so popular that newspapers used to declare “Everybody’s Polish on Dyngus Day!”
To gain a little more insight into why the festival is so popular, I asked friend, and Co-Founder of Betty Crocksi (a Polish food truck here in Buffalo) Kate Hey, why is the festival so popular? ” It’s the Dyngus Day enthusiasm that’s so unforgettable, people so eager to try new things, new dance moves, new neighborhood’s. Just coming out and celebrating Buffalo’s cultural history and future. Plus, it’s just so much fun. Not to be missed.” And indeed it will not be; most of Buffalo comes out to enjoy the festivities. So if you’ve always wondered what it is, do yourself a favor and get out there and see for yourself!