Dyngus Day 2018: 10 Things About the Polish Holiday After Easter

Dyngus Day is a Polish and Polish-American holiday observed the day after Easter Sunday and celebrating the end of lent. It is a joyful tradition that involves parades, parties, music, dancing and food. Here are ten facts about the festive holiday:

1. The word "Dyngus" is sometimes also spelled "Dingus" and loosely means worthy, proper or suitable.

2. Dyngus Day dates back to the baptism of Prince Mieszko I on Easter Monday in 966 A.D. The water symbolized purification. The rite of sprinkling water on the holiday is an expression of gratefulness that the first Polish king was baptized, and that Catholicism entered Poland.

3. The day is filled with parades and parties. Parties typically start in the mid-morning on Monday with a buffet of traditional fare and go on until after sunrise on Tuesday.

4. Polka music is a tradition on Dyngus Day and it is often mandatory for participants to dance at least once.

5. Perhaps the most well-known Dyngus Day tradition is that in which single boys try to splash water on single girls as an expression of interest. Rooting from the baptism of the prince, the water represents cleansing, purification and fertility. Participants use buckets or, in modern day, water squirt guns. Some boys use cologne instead of water.

6. Single girls can reciprocate on Tuesday by throwing dishes and crockery at the boys.

7. Young men and women can also flirt on Dyngus Day with pussy willows, which are among the first plants to bud in the spring. The young men may lightly hit women on their legs to show they are interested.

8. Dyngus Day is an occasion to eat traditional Polish foods including pierogis, kielbasa, stuffed cabbage, ham, eggs, breads and lamb-shaped butter.

9. The biggest celebration in the United States takes place in Buffalo, New York, which has a large Polish-American community and is considered the Dyngus capital of America. It started there with the Chopin Singing Society in 1961.

10. Smaller Dyngus Day celebrations take place in Chicago, Illinois; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Bristol, Connecticut; Elizabeth, New Jersey; and South Bend, Indiana.