Dyngus Day: The Polish holiday you may not know about

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – We are getting a taste of some Polish history and customs Monday morning. That’s because it’s a Polish American Holiday.

NEWS10 ABC’s Heather Kovar joins us from ‘The Hill at Muza’ in Troy, a restaurant bar & garden where the owners are from Poland. They’re getting ready for Dyngus Day.

You may be wondering… What on earth is Dyngus Day?

It’s kind of like the Polish version of St. Patrick’s Day. It is celebrated at the end of Lent; the day after Easter. Mardi-Gras takes place before Lent, and Dyngus day is the party after Lent.

Ever heard of pierogis? They’re pretty popular on Dyngus Day.

Customs include pierogis, kielbasa, stuffed cabbage, butter shaped like lambs, Polka Dancing and drinking. Quirky traditions include sprinkling water on someone you have a crush on, or tapping them with a pussy willow branch.

Organizers say this year’s Dyngus Day celebrations in Buffalo will be bigger and better than ever. The western New York city is one of a relatively small number of cities that celebrate the holiday. Parade coordinator Bernadette Pawlak says more than 150 groups are expected in this year’s 10th annual parade, compared to the 30 units that took part in the first event in 2007.

The Troy restaurant owners traveled from Poland to the U.S. in their 20’s. Their son grew up in the Collar City speaking Polish.

So what exactly is a Dyngus? Is that a Polish word?

That’s a good question. It’s funny sounding word. It’s pretty much means “worthy” but it’s the name of the holiday – just like Christmas is the name of a holiday. Sto Lat (‘sto laht’) is their cheer of choice, which means “100 years”. And the pronunciation of the beer? Zywiec (‘ziv-yets’).

Sto Lat!!!!!

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