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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
CLICK HERE  to view the full Jimmy Sturr Dyngus Day video
Polish Products
Dyngus Day in Cleveland's "Polish Triangle"

FACTOID: Buffalo Spree voted Dyngus Day the "most unique event" in Western New York in the 2011 "Best of WNY" issue. Congratulations!
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!
Looking for treble? 
Dyngus Day
Rochester, NY
"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 then 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.