tumblr visitor
Everybody's Polish on Dyngus Day!
Everybody's Polish on Dyngus Day!
Flirting has traditionally been a big part of Dyngus Day fun!

"Airborne Eddy Dobosiewicz and Marty Biniasz, founders of dyngusdaybuffalo.com, discuss the origins of Dyngus Day in Buffalo, NY
Fritz from
Buffalo Police at Broadway Market
2011 Dyngus Day Photo Gallery
Early History of Dyngus Day: Some contend that Dyngus originates from the baptism on Easter Monday of Mieszko I (Duke of the Polans, c. 935–992) in 966 AD, uniting all of Poland under the banner of Christianity. Dualism and "twins" are featured in Slavic pre-Christian paganism. Dyngus and Śmigus were twin pagan gods; the former representing water and the moist earth (Dyngus from din gus – thin soup or dingen – nature); and the later representing thunder and lightning (Śmigus from śmigać or to make a whooshing sound). In this theory, the water tradition is the transformation of the pagan water god into the Christian baptism. The custom of pouring water was an ancient spring rite of cleansing, purification, and fertility. It is alleged that the pagan Poles bickered with nature/Dyngus by means of pouring water and switching with willows to make themselves pure and worthy of the coming year. Others have suggested that the striking tradition is the transformation of the ritual "slap" of Christian confirmation. However, still others suggest that the Śmigus tradition is actually simply a youthful recapitulation of a Good Friday Polish tradition, in which parents wake their children with switches from twigs, saying the words of a Lenten prayer "God's wounds" – "Boże rany".

Early, the Dyngus custom was clearly differentiated from śmigus: dyngus was the exchange of gifts (usually eggs, often decorated – pisanka pl. pisanki), under the threat of water splashing if one party did not have any eggs ready, while Śmigus referred to the striking.

Later the focus shifted to the courting aspect of the ritual, and young unmarried girls were the only acceptable targets. A boy would sneak into the bedroom of the girl he fancied and awaken her by drenching her with multiple buckets of water. Politics played an important role in proceedings, and often the boy would get access to the house only by arrangement with the girl's mother.

Throughout the day, girls would find themselves the victims of drenchings and leg-whippings, and a daughter who was not targeted for such activities was generally considered to be unattractive and unmarryable in this very coupling-oriented environment.

Most recently, the tradition has changed to become fully water-focused, and the śmigus part is almost forgotten. It is quite common for girls to attack boys just as fiercely as the boys traditionally attacked the girls. With much of Poland's population residing in tall apartment buildings, high balconies are favorite hiding places for young people who gleefully empty full buckets of water onto randomly selected passers-by.

Buffalo’s Dyngus Day Parade, the first and only kind of parade in the world, will march through the Historic Polonia District passing numerous Dyngus Day celebrations including those at Central Terminal, St. Stanislaus Church, Corpus Christi Church, The Adam Plewacki American Legion Post 799 and the Adam Mickewicz Library and Dramatic Circle. Parade organizers anticipate more than 150 parade entries and over 50,000 spectators this year.

“The Dyngus Day Parade has become a uniquely Buffalo tradition,” explained Parade Director Bernadette Pawlak. “2011 is a very special year as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of modern Dyngus Day in America. We welcome volunteers to assist in parade preparation as we expect that this will be the biggest Dyngus Day parade in history.” 

A Polish-American tradition, Dyngus Day celebrates the end of the restrictive observance of Lent and the joy of Easter. Over the decades, Buffalo, New York has become the Dyngus Day Capital of the World attracting thousands of people from across the northeast United States. Although celebrated in Buffalo’s Polonia neighborhood since the arrival of the first Poles in the 1870s, the city’s first modern Dyngus Day celebration was held 50 years ago by the Chopin’s Singing Society, a tradition that continues today. Dyngus Day Buffalo, the provider of marketing and organizational support to area celebrations was founded in 2005. Dyngus Day 2011 will take place on Monday, April 25th.

The Dyngus Day tradition of playfully switching girls with pussywillow branches and sprinkling them with water is strongly associated with the Catholic religion (dominant in Poland) today. The custom originated before the conversion of Polish tribes to Christianity in the 10th century. In order for the tribal people living on the Polish territory to accept the new religion, the Church decided to combine the "barbaric" customs with the culture of Catholicism. Splashing water on girls was one of these customs.
In the Dyngus Day spirit!
Fr. Ted Bocianowski enjoying a sunny 2014 Dyngus Day parade. Look at that smile! Sto lat, Father!
2010 Dyngus Day Photo Gallery
Ukranian girls frolicking from the Dnipro Ukrainian Centeron Genesee Street
Tyskie Beer
Sobieski Girls
Polish Posse at Central Terminal
Chet and Daria of Melody Lane at Central Terminal
One of many pretty Buffalo girls
Melody Lane is an exciting band from Rochester, NY.
Banner at the Dnipro Ukrainian Center on Genesee Street
This has nothing to do with Dyngus Day, but I thought it was cool and posted it anyway.
Harmony Dancers at Central Terminal
When Stephanie plays, people POLKA!
St. Stan's Dyngus Day Party
Pan Polonia Music at Central Terminal
Everybody knows this!
Girls day out t the Broadway Market
Polish Villa Part II on Harlem Road had a nice brunch
Polish Villa Part II on Harlem Road
The truth is wódka was invented in Poland!
Dancing at the Depot
Altar at St. Nicholas Catholic Ukrainian Church in Buffalo
Dyngus Day sign in front of Central Terminal
Polish Products
Dyngus Day in Cleveland's "Polish Triangle"

Artist's portayal of traditional Dyngus Day revelry 
on display at Polish Villa II in Cheektowaga, N.Y.
Dziady śmiguśne or słomiaki
The video below shows how the day after Easter is celebrated in the southern Małopolska region of Poland especially in the area of Limanowa. Men parade through the village wearing high hats and outfits made of straw. In Mielec these "silent beggars" squirt water with wishes for a good harvest. Of course it's the ladies who get all their attention. Great fun! (I read about this in the PAJ.)
Here they come!
Melody Lane at Dnipro Ukrainian Center ion Genesee Street
Audience participation dance at Polish Cadets
Dyngus Day 2013
Photo Gallery

Dyngus in Cleveland

2012 Dyngus Day Photo Gallery
Harmony: Dyngus Day 2013
Dyngus Day 2013
Senator Chuck Schumer photo op
Potato Pierog
Frank Barnashuk at St. Stan's
Dyngus Day 2013
The Easter Bunny!
Dyngus Day 2013
Polish Pride
Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic CIrcle
Dyngus Day 2013 at St. Stan's
Dyngus Day 2013
Before the parade
Parade-watchers at Arty's
Judge Ann Mikoll - She started it all years ago. Thank you, Your Honor.
Anderson Cooper sighting
St. Stanislaus Church and Buffalo Skyline on Dyngus Day 2011
2014 Dyngus Day Photo Gallery

Jack Jacob Jarosinski. (piper), Steve Flor (Polish flag bearer)
Dyngus Day: Buffalo 2015-2018 Photos and Videos are on a NEW PAGE! CLICK HERE

"Let's Have A Good Time!" 
Śmigus! - from Reymont's "The Peasants" (Chłopi)
    The next morning--Easter Monday--the weather was still more beautiful, the country-side more abundantly bathed in dew, in azure mist-wreaths, in sunshine and in joy. The bird's songs were more sonorous; the warm gales, rushing through the trees, made them murmur, as it were, a quiet prayer. The folk rose earlier, too, that day, opening doors and windows wide, and going outside to gaze upon God's world--on the verdurous orchards; on the vast landscape garlanded with spring greenery, sparkling all over with diamonds, bathed in the light of the sun; on the autumn-ploughed fields, with young tawny blades waving in the wind, and rippling up to the cabins like sheets of water teased by the zephyrs.
    The boys ran about with squirts, drenching each other to the cry of Śmigus!--or else, hiding behind the trees round the pond, they would deluge with water, not only the passers-by, but anyone who peeped out of doors; so that many a cabin-wall dripped with wet, and puddles glistened all around them.
    Along all the ways and about the enclosures, the lads ran, chasing their victims with uproarious laughter, and dead set against the lasses, who enjoyed the pastime as much as they did, emptying pails on their heads and dodging them through the orchards; and as there were plenty of grown-up girls among them, these soon got the upper hand, driving the boys back with indomitable energy. Even Yasyek Topsy-turvy, who had attacked Natstka with a fire-hose, was himself tackled by the Balcerek girls, drenched from head to foot, and then flung into the pond to crown their victory.
    But he, being nettled, and loath to brook such shame that girls should get the better of a man, called to his aid Pete, Boryna's servant: who with him laid an ambush cunningly for Nastka, got her fast in their clutches, dragged her to the well, and flooded her until she screamed aloud.
...Then, taking Vitek to help them, and young Gulbas, with some bigger lads, they pounced upon Mary, daughter of Balcerek, whom they deluged so, that, stick in hand, her mother was obliged to run and rescue her! Yagna too they caught and drenched thoroughly, nor did they spare even Yuzka, though she begged them hard, and ran in tears to Hanka to complain.
   "Complain she may! they cried; "but yet she likes it: see, her eyes sparkle with glee!"
   "Pestilent fellows! they have wetted me all over!" Yagustynka growled, though pleased, and entered the cabin.
    "Whom will those rascals spare!" Yuszka grumbled, as she changed to dry clothes. Yet she could not for all that forbear coming out into the porch to witness the scene: all the roads alive with noise and tumult, and the whole place thrilling with the hubbub. The lads, frantic with delight, ran about in large bands, driving all who came nigh within range of the great hose, till at last the Soltys, seeing that no one could leave his hut for them, had to put an end to this merry-making, and disperse them.

 Vol.3 SPRING, p 128-131; Translated from the original Polish by Michael H. Dzierwicki, Reader of English Literature at the University of Cracow. This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.
Dyngus Day 2021: Monday, April 5

Dyngus Day 2019: Monday, April 22: CLICK HERE
Knuckle Saver!
10 Best Dyngus Day Cities in the USA
10 Best Dyngus Day Cities in the USA
    It’s one of America’s most unique and spirited ethnic celebrations. Dyngus Day is a post-Lenten party that takes place the Monday Easter. The day’s quirky customs include the playful flirting by the tap of a pussy willows or exchanging a sprinkling of water, dancing the polka and eating tons of Polish sausage. (You can learn more about the holiday and customs at www.DyngusDay.com.)

With its roots in rural Poland, the Monday after Easter has become a wild party in a number of communities across America where a large concentration of Polish Americans can be found or where the diaspora of Polonia has spread. To help find a party near you, here are the Top 10 Dyngus Day celebrations in America ranging from individual clubs & taverns to city wide celebrations:

10. Charlotte, North Carolina – Thousands of “rust belt refuges” who now call Charlotte home have helped fuel the success of Dyngus Day at the Red Fez Shrine Club. The 2015 edition will feature traditional Polish food, polka music, and will benefit the Shriner’s Hospital for Children. You’ll find a rockin’ polka band and find out what people mean when they say, “Bring on the pussy willow shenanigans, it’s time to party our dupas off.” The club is at 16600 Red Fez Road. www.dyngusdaycharlotte.com

9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin – The power of the pussy willow has begun to be felt in a city famous for its beer, brats and squeezeboxes. Kochanski’s Concertina Bar has taken on the challenge of creating a Dyngus Day festival with a day filled with Polish beer and live polka music with Joe Kielbasa & the Missing Links. Kochanski’s is located at 1920 S. 37th Street. www.facebook.com/DyngusDayMilwaukee

8. New Orleans, Louisiana – Organizers explain Dyngus Day this way, “The party is a near-manic lust for celebration, the explosion of excess and sin the first day of relent from austerity and fast; it is the adverse, Polish mirror-image of the immediately pre-Lenten Mardi Gras, with a very kindred spirit.” New Orleans is a professional party town and the owners of the Siberia Night Club have seized the opportunity to call Dyngus Day their own. Live music by Debauche and the G-string Orchestra, Polish food and spirits. “Dyngus Day is the holiday for people who are disappointed to think that the spirit animating Mardi Gras lives only once a year,” says club owners. Siberia is located at 2227 St Claude Ave. www.DyngusDayNOLA.org

7. Phoenix, Arizona – In a town where you would more likely find a tumbleweed than a pussy willow branch, the spirit of Dyngus Day is strong at the Pulaski Club in Phoenix. Live polka music by the Varitones Band, Polish beer and spirits, imported pussy willows and more will greet party goers. The club is located at 4331 E. McDowell Road. www.Pulaskiclubaz.org

6. Boston, Massachusetts – Spearheaded by the Tavern at the End of the World in Charlestown, Dyngus Day Boston is now into its 3rd year. Call themselves the “Polish Capital of New England,” the party features all the traditional elements found at a Dyngus party including polka music, Polish food, piwo & vodka, pussy willows and a spontaneous water gun battle in the bar. The Tavern at the End of the World is located at 108 Cambridge St. www.tavernattheendoftheworld.com

5. Rotterdam, New York – What began as a small party at a local tavern seven years ago has now transformed itself into the self-proclaimed “Dyngus Capital of Upsate New York.” The party at the Rotterdam Elks Club begins at 1pm with live polka music and a full Polish kitchen. www.dyngusdayrotterdam.com.

4. St. Petersburg, Florida – No worries about getting drenched by a squirt gun…because you can celebrate the Monday after Easter in your bikini top at the 20th annual Dyngus Day Party at Buffalo City Bar & Grill in St. Petersburg. Free pussy willows will be given to the ladies while you dance to the music of the Florida Honky Polka Band. The bar is located at 5631 Park Street. www.buffalocitybar.com

3. South Bend, Indiana (Michiana Region) – Although more politics than polkas, Dyngus Day in South Bend still one of America’s sizable celebrations. Dyngus Day in South Bend marks the beginning of the Michiana region’s political campaign season with political parties sponsoring events featuring a parade of hopefuls shaking hands and kissing babies. So important is politics that over the years it has attracted the likes of Robert F. Kennedy and Bill & Hillary Clinton to Dyngus events. What South Bend lack in pussy willows and squirt gun, they make up in a spirited celebration of spring. Celebrations are scattered through the region. Down the road in nearby North Liberty, IN, the Curmstown Conservation Club’s Dyngus Day party begins with live polka at 9am. The Dyngus Day Dash is a 5K run and walk through the streets of Michigan City. In LaPorte, IN, public transportation offers a shuttle bus between various LaPorte bars and clubs. www.facebook.com/DyngusDaySouthBend

2. Cleveland, Ohio – In 2009, Dyngus Day organizers from Buffalo, New York visited their Lake Erie neighbors with the hopes of planting the pussy willow seed in Cleveland. One of the people who they excited was Justin Gorski, a polka promoter known as DJ Kishka. A year later, Gorski came to Buffalo to learn how he could create a Dyngus party in his own town. Now in its 5th year, the celebration in Cleveland, Ohio has become one of the largest in America with an accordion parade and over 30 venues participating. In 2015 Dyngus Day Cleveland will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Cleveland native and “America’s Polka King” Frankie Yankovic who passed away in 1998. Not to be missed is DJ Kishka’s Heavenly Beer Tent presented by the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum. www.ClevelandDyngus.com

1. Buffalo, New York
The #1 Dyngus Day party in America! Nowhere else in the world will you find more pussy willows being plucked, polkas being played and more sausage being consumed that in Buffalo, New York. It was only natural that a city proud of its ethnic and blue-collar past would become known the “Dyngus Day Capital of the World!” Although celebrated by Polish youth since the 1870s, the modern Dyngus Day party was invented in Buffalo by the Chopin’s Singing Society in 1961. Both the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres have created unique lines of Dyngus Day branded apparel.

In 2015, venues across the city will feature live music, Polish food, Polish beer & vodka. The largest concentration of parties can be found in Buffalo’s Historic Polonia District that at the turn of the 20th century boosted the 2nd largest Polish-American colony in the world outside of Europe. It is in the Polonia District that you’ll find the Dyngus Day Buffalo parade featuring 200 units and a sea of Polish pride. Parties in Buffalo officially begin on EasterSunday night and continue until the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Over 29 different polka bands will perform on Dyngus Day making the festival the largest one-day polka event in the world. Dyngus Day Buffalo Parade details are available at www.DyngusDayBuffalo.com.

Dyngus Day, the annual post-Lenten bash, attracts tens of thousands to Buffalo, New York to celebrate spring, show Polish pride, flirt with pussy willows and listen to the best polka bands in the nation.