by Doug Sitler

dyngusday-logoDyngus Day…it’s a huge celebration in which the name is equally as quirky as the activities contained within the event. What other celebration in the world has people chasing each other with squirt guns and tapping each other with pussy willow branches?

Historically a Polish-American tradition, Dyngus Day celebrates the end of the often restrictive observance of Lent and the joy of Easter. Over the decades, Dyngus Day has become a wonderful holiday to celebrate Polish-American culture, heritage and traditions. The word “Dyngus” means “worthy, proper or suitable,” which is appropriate for the post-Lenten celebration.

The tradition holds true that on Easter Monday 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 from squirt guns and pussy willow equally.

In Buffalo there are over 15 celebrations that feature live music, traditions and ethnic food. Purchase a $10 admission at participating Dyngus Day Buffalo Official Festival Sites and receive a wristband offering $2 admissions to any other participating venue during the day. Your Dyngus Day Buffalo Pussy Willow Pass also allows you to hop on the Sobieski Vodka Shuttle Bus to over 15 festival halls and taverns.

Buffalo, New York is officially the Dyngus Capital of America with the largest concentration of festival locations and live polka music. Smaller festivals can be found in communities with sizable Polish-America populations such as South Bend, Indiana, Chicago, Illinois, Elizabeth, New Jersey, Bristol, Connecticut and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

To find out all the details about this wonderful festival, visit

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