Western New York goes Polish

This has been a week of holiday events. There was Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. Each day has its own significance.

Maundy Thursday is the Christian feast, or holy day, falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the gospels.

Good Friday is a time when Christians remember Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. Most churches in the region hold a special service on this day.

Holy Saturday commemorates the day that Jesus Christ’s body lay in the tomb. Many Catholic churches hold a “blessing of the Easter baskets” on this day.

Easter Sunday celebrates the risen Lord. Even those who aren’t particularly religious often join in the celebration with the Easter bunny and hiding painted eggs.

But today is an entirely different celebration. On this day, the Polish community in particular, celebrates Dyngus Day.

According to, Dyngus Day has become a wonderful holiday to celebrate Polish-American culture, heritage and traditions. The tradition holds that on this day, boys would sprinkle the girls with water and tap them with pussy willows. On Easter Tuesday, the women would return the favor. At modern Dyngus Day parties, it is common practice that both men and women trade water and pussy willow equally.

On this day, as the saying goes, “everybody is Polish on Dyngus Day.”