Witamy! Dyngus Day (the day after Easter, sometimes called Wet Monday) may not be a big holiday in your neck of the woods, but here in Buffalo, with its large Polish-American population, it’s as big as St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a post-Lent Polish tradition dating back centuries. The flowering shoots of pussy willow are used in Europe and America for spring decoration on Palm Sunday as a replacement for palm branches, which don’t grow this far north.
At after-lent parties, boys spritz water at the interest of their affection. Girls return their interest (if they are indeed interested) in the tapping of the boys with pussy willow branches. This is a charming, mellow version of the buckets of water & branch swatting of days of old.
Many U.S. communities with large Polish populations celebrate the holiday, like Chicago and cities in Michigan & Indiana. But Buffalo claims the largest celebration in the country with parades, parties, polka concerts and shuttle buses in between them all. Many pierogies and kielbasa will be consumed. And much Obolon & Tyskie beers and Sobieski vodka will be drunk.
If you happen to get caught unawares at a Dyngus Day party, here’s a helpful guide to commonly used Polish sayings that can get you out of (or into) most Dyngus Day situations:
How are you? – Jak sie masz?
Good Day – Dzien dobry
Thank you – Dziekuja
Please – Prosze
Cheers! – Nazdrowie!
Let’s Dance – Zatanczymy
You’re Beautiful – Jestes tak piekna
I like you – Lubie Cie
I like beer – Lubie pivo
I want you – Pragne Cie
I love you – Kocham Cie
Let’s get married – Ozenmy sie
I’m broke – Nie mam pieniedzy
I have a headache – Boli mnie glowa
For any other Polish translations, like some good dirty words, you’ll have to ask Ewa in the Garden.