Happy Dyngus Day (Dyngus-Smigus)
Wet Monday -
Each year in Buffalo there is a day when every one is Polish (or at least they claim to be). A tradition started a long ago but growing in popularity each year. Some believe the tradition was founded back in 966AD when Prince Mieszko, the first king of Poland, along with his court were baptized in to Christianity on Easter Monday. The sprinkling of water inspired by the water baptism has been a key symbol ever since – thus “wet” Monday.
Farm boys trying to get the attention of their heats desire used this celebration in later centuries. They would sprinkle water on the legs of their girl. There are rumors that she may reply by with hitting back with dishes on Easter Tuesday.
Dyngus Day 2009 – Buffalo NY
On Monday April 13, 2009 there will be a Parade and 6 official Polish Taverns where they have guaranteed plenty of Tyskie Polish Beer and Sobieski Vodka. There will also be at least 21 venues listed on the official website www.dyngusdaybuffalo.com where you will be able to find some of the Nations best Polka Music. This year there is a “Pussy Willow” Pass that will get you into all of the venues (can be as much as $10 each) and allows you to use the Official Sobieski Vodka, Dyngus Day Shuttle Bus System.
There will be more Dyngus Day parties and Sausage consumed in Buffalo on Dyngus Day that anywhere else in the world. It will be a time to rejoice and take part in all of the items that were sacrificed during Lent.
Needless to say – the Monday after Easter is a huge day in Buffalo.
One side thought or (glenism) I find it very interesting that when you look at the word roots for Dyngus there is some mention of buying back like in the form of a ransom. Pretty cool when you consider the Easter Story is just that – the bible uses the concept of how we were bought with a price / or ransom. Water is a symbol of clean start – after Easter we as Christians now believe that we have a clean start… Unfortunately – I think the modern Dyngus Day celebrations may look more like a post Easter Marti Gras than have any deep spiritual meaning.
The other interesting discovery was the diversity of the stories of what Dyngus Day is...
A little Polish / Buffalo history -
Growing up in Buffalo NY we had the pleasure of experiencing cultural diversity before it became fashionable. One of the great cultures that have influenced our area is the Polish Americans. This group really needs to be measured as a culture due to the ever changing European Borders of it home land. These border changes made it almost impossible to track the actual number of Polish immigrants to the USA. Many of the Poles were listed as Russian, German or Austrian.
As the Poles moved in to the Western NY they brought with them their strong religious heritage. There were 34 churches established by Polish Americans. The later and largest group of Polish settlers were Catholics but the early Polish settlers were Jewish. Later the Polish Baptist movement would be born in Buffalo.
It has been this Polish heritage that has keep alive the spirit of Dyngus Day.
Did you know?
- The First Poles settled in Jamestown 12 years before the Pilgrim reached Massachusetts.
- Sandusky OH was named after Jacob Sadowski who was one of the first immigrants to penetrate as far as Kentucky.
- Kazimierz Pulaski, a Polish Patriot left for American Colonies when his country was over run. This event was a huge blessing to the future USA. He became the father of the American Calvary and is credited with saving George Washington at the Battle of Brandywine.
- The world’s oldest working fireboat and National Historic Landmark is now the mascot of one of America’s most unique ethnic holidays. The Edward M. Cotter has been named “World’s Largest Dyngus Day Squirt Gun.”
More information and sources for some of my information.