Monday, April 17, 2006


What???? You never heard of Dyngus Day. Well I shall share with you the tradition of Dyngus Day.
Historically a Polish-American tradition, Dyngus Day celebrates the end of the often restrictive observance of lent and the joy of Easter. Over the decades, Dyngus Day has become a wonderful holiday to celebrate Polish-American culture, heritage and traditions.
There are many stories that attempt to explain the origins of the day. Many Polish customs date back to pre-Christian practices of our Slavic ancestors. The custom of pouring water is an ancient spring rite of cleansing, purification, and fertility. The same is true of the complimentary practice of switching with pussy willow branches. Many parties begin at Noon on the Monday after Easter with a large buffet of traditional Easter foods (Kielbasa, ham, fresh breads, eggs). It is common to hear polka music on Dyngus with the mandatory dancing of at least one polka.
Pussy Willows play a big part in Dyngus Day celebrations as men and women flirt with playful “taps”. Branches are used as the pussy willow is one of the first “budding” plants of Spring after a cold winter. But how did the pussy willow get its name? According to Polish legend, many springs ago, baby kittens fell into a raging river while chasing butterflies. The mother cat sadly wept at the river's edge, pleading for help for her drowning kittens. The willows heard her mournful cries and swept their long graceful branches into the water. The kittens grabbed the branches, held on tightly and were safely brought to shore. Every spring, from that day to this, the willows sprout fur-like buds where the tiny kittens once clung.
With the help of the Buffalo News & Mister Joe, that my friends is Dyngus Day.

So Happy Dyngus Day!

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