The Monday after Easter, commonly known to those of Polish heritage as Dyngus Day, is very much alive and well in Buffalo, New York. Buffalo is home to one of the largest Polish populations in the country, and is known around the world for the Dyngus Day celebrations.
For those of you who don’t know, Dyngus Day is a centuries old Polish holiday. The Monday after Easter, it is held to signify spring and a good harvest. Traditionally, attractive girls were drenched in water by men, and hit with pussywillows. A girl could protect herself from getting soaked by giving the boy a ‘ransom’ of decorated eggs. Traditionally, many rhymes and phrases went along with the drenching, and the entire village would participate in a parade to celebrate the end of winter, and the hope for a successful harvest.
Today, in the United States, it is a bit different. The pussywillows are more common than water, but you are still more than welcome to hit someone with one. In fact, at certain celebrations downtown, you can actually buy sticks of pussywillows at the festivals.
The main gem of Dyngus Day is the Broadway Market, located on—you guessed it—Broadway. The market has been in operation for years, and is the busiest around Easter. While you’re there, get a famous butter lamb for your table, and try the delicious Polish goodies they have littered about. I guarantee you won’t leave empty handed.
For college kids, this is a great day to go out and have some fun. It Is a relatively cheap venture, and there is ample parking around the festival site. Keep in mind that traffic will be slightly altered for the day, as the police will have the areas around the market closed to vehicle traffic. There is always live music, and if nothing else, it makes a great opportunity for an Instagram photo!
In Buffalo, everyone is Polish on Dyngus Day. There is a parade, clothes you can buy, music, and of course, food. However, the glory of Dyngus Day in Buffalo is the fact that the entire city becomes Polish for a day. I’m not kidding. If you’re looking for a new adventure, check it out!
The main festivities are held down by the old train terminal, and the Broadway Market. You can pre-purchase food tickets at local retailers, and the Dyngus Day Buffalo website is the place to go for more information!
Don’t forget your pussywillows….and wear red, lots and lots of red!