MONDAY, APRIL 9: From the White House lawn to fields across the UK, thousands of kids will be rolling Easter eggs today—and thousands more will be aiming water pistols at one another! In a marriage of old-fashioned traditions and popular culture, the celebration of Easter Monday is growing. Turning to Google for this holiday? Make sure to try “Dyngus Day” to see the Polish side of this holiday!
Want more on the Washington D.C. tradition of hosting a national Easter Egg Roll? Check out our earlier story about this very popular White House Easter tradition.
The early Christian Church put so much emphasis on Easter that its activities lasted an entire week. In the 19th century, however, many Easter-week customs were condensed into one day—Monday—and that practice continues today. The Polish version of Easter Monday stole the global spotlight, calling young people to douse one another with water (originally, with holy water) and whip one another with pussy willow branches. Turn to Buffalo, New York, for a massive Dyngus Day party, which includes a parade, multiple Polka bands, sauerkraut, kielbasas and pierogis. (Read more in Buffalo Rising.) Visitors to Buffalo can even check out the “Polish Food Pyramid” while exploring the city’s Polish heritage. New Yorkers anticipate Dyngus Day so much, in fact, that some festivities started yesterday at 5 p.m.!
More cities across the U.S. join in the party each year: In 2011, Cleveland hosted its first bash (read all about how it went at Cleveland.com), and bars in Troy, New York will hold their first Dyngus Day parties this year. Students at Yale University also join in the water-soaked activities each year. Media in South Bend, Indiana compare Dyngus Day to St. Patrick’s Day this way: There is no St. Dyngus. But South Bend celebrates Dyngus Day the way the Irish observe St. Patrick’s Day, with crowds drawn to bars, restaurants and clubs for ethnic food, music and plenty of liquid refreshment.