Monday, April 17, 2017
Dyngus Day is a Polish and Polish American tradition that celebrates the end of the season of lent. The holiday has grown to show Polish American culture, heritage and traditions. Many polish holidays date back to pre-Christian practices of the Slavic ancestors. One old custom was to pour water in an ancient spring rite of cleansing, purification, and fertility. The tradition of Dyngus Day started around 966 A.D. which was around the same time as Prince Mieszko I baptism.
The custom of pouring water in an ancient spring signifies cleansing, purification and fertility. Tradition dictates that Prince Mieszko I along with his court was baptized on Easter Monday. Dyngus day and the rite of sprinkling with water has become a folk celebration as time of thanksgiving. It celebrates the first king of Poland being baptized into Christianity as well as bringing Catholicism to Poland.
Farm boys in Poland who wanted to attract notice from the girls that they wanted to get to know used Dyngus day. It was a day to throw water and hit the girls on their legs with twigs or pussy willows. The more gallant lads would use cologne. The ladies in return would throw dishes and crockery as a manner of revenge.
Dyngus day was brought to America by Polish neighborhoods who celebrated the holiday. Buffalo New York is the unofficial Dyngus Capital of America. The largest concentration of festival locations and live polka music is just part of the celebrations. Smaller festivals can be found in communities with large Polish America population. South Bend in Indiana, Chicago Illinois, Elizabeth New Jersey, Bristol Connecticut and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania are all places you will find a dyngus festival.