Show your crush you care on Ṥmigus-Dyngus Day. Splash them with water and spank them with pussy willow reeds.
Each Easter Monday, a day when many folks are still devouring the remains of the candy the Easter Bunny bestowed upon them and parents frantically search for any eggs the kids missed during the Easter egg hunt before they start to smell, people of Polish heritage are celebrating Smigus-Dyngus Day.
The annual post-Lenten bash has roots in an ancient, pre-Christian rite of spring and fertility. These days, it’s referred to as Dyngus Day or Wet Monday (a.k.a. lany poniedziałek), particularly in the United States, where the country’s largest celebration takes place in Buffalo, New York.
Dyngus was the ancient Polish god of wet and fertile earth (typical of springtime). Ṥmigus was his twin brother, the god of storms and thunder (also typical during springtime). And the day that celebrates the twins has since evolved from a fertility rite into a cheeky celebration of courtship, with a fun-filled tradition in which lovesick young folks splash water on their crushes, who in turn whip them with willow reeds.
In this day and age, giant water guns are the modus operandi for splashing a loved one, but revelers still actually use pussy willows, which bloom in early spring. In Buffalo this year, a pussy willow shortage due to the harsh winter actually had festival organizers concerned for the festivities.
The day is also marked by heaping helpings of traditional Polish fare, including beer, sausage, dumplings, Polka music and dancing.
Don’t believe us? Watch this spectacularly randy news story from Dingus Day 1985.
Happy Dyngus Day!