Time for pussy willows and polka music, it’s Dyngus Day

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Break out the pussy willows and play the polka, it’s Dyngus Day. The 8th annual Dyngus Day Parade gets under way at 5 p.m. Monday.

It will start with a blessing in front of Corpus Christi Catholic Church. Then it will wind its way down Broadway and Fillmore, and through Buffalo’s east side. More than 100 entries are expected to take part in the parade.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “Dyngus Day goes back hundreds of years. In some ways you can call it a ritual between boys and girls looking for boyfriends and girlfriends, but in some ways it’s just a celebration of the Easter season.”

There are several Dyngus Day traditions. Guys chase after girls, or vice versa, spraying ones they like with water. Some of the bolder ones will hit a girl or boy they like on the legs with a pussy willow branch.

Dyngus Day Buffalo president Eddy Dobosiewicz said, “The pussy willow is representative of the first budding of spring. The water is really to represent the rebirth, life, baptism and the renewal, if you will.”

But how the ritual works has changed over the year.

“Traditionally men did all the damage on Monday, they doused the women with water, men chased the women around, the women would reciprocate on Tuesday nowadays modern day Dyngus anything goes, the boys and girls will splash and trash them, it doesn’t matter,” Dobosiewicz explained.

Buffalo’s Best Kielbasa contest emcee Steve Cichon said, “It’s really a great tradition, not only for the Polish community, but for the Christian and Catholic community after a long Lenten season, a beautiful Easter holiday with family, nothing like letting off a little steam on the Monday.”

Parade-goers will also compete for several area awards, including best use of red and white, best use of pussy willows and best family float.

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