It’s Monday morning. Time to put the kids on the school bus, grab your briefcase, and head off to work. Or, if you work at home, it’s time to get the house back in order. The party’s over. Spring break has broken. Vacation has been vacated, the eggs have been found, massive quantities of chocolate consumed, and now shit’s about to get real. Mundane.
But wait! The festivities don’t have to end there! Take heed! For today is Dyngus Day! Or more specifically, Smigus Dyngus Day. What in blue blazes is that, you ask? And I’m glad you asked, because I’m dying to tell you. Dyngus Day (meaning “Wet Monday”) is a Polish holiday celebrated on Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday.
And you thought Easter was only on Sunday. Oh no.
On Monday, the boys dress as bears and sprinkle girls with water, while spanking them with pussy willow branches.
I’m not kidding. This is for real.
On Tuesday, the girls have their revenge. They spank right back, though, they don’t reciprocate precipitously.
So what does this all mean and what are it’s origins? I have no idea and my vast research failed to produce answers. It will just have to be a Dyngus Mystery until one of the great truth seekers of the world can uncover the lore. What I can tell you, is that the holiday is celebrated by Polish Americans, Slovakians, and in the Czech Republic – oh, and in Hungary, where it is referred to as “Water Plunge Monday”. Hmm. Sounds like a promo for the San Dimas Water Park. But okay.
For now, I think it’s safe to say we can pin this one on the pagans. After all, they’re the ones who come up with all the fun creative holidays that Christians eventually appropriate. Dyngus Day is usually celebrated with a processional. Pagans can throw a wicked parade, you know what I’m sayin’? Also, dancing. Lots of dancing and drinking. Because you know, where there is dancing, devilish pastimes like alcohol consumption and sexual activity can’t be too far behind. We like our holidays to be jolly, right?
The water sprinkling, pussy willow branches and bear costumes are simply pieces of holiday flair, I suppose. But if we dig deeper, I’m willing to bet there are some sort of Spring, rebirth, insemination insinuations at work. I think you already knew that. I had you at pussy willow, didn’t I?
According to Wikipedia, the pussy willows were part of Palm Sunday celebrations, where, after being blessed by priests, parishioners would go nuts on each other with pussy willow branches, whipping and spanking each other. Hey – whatever gets you through the mass. It was a protective thing. You know, like from lighting strikes, threatening animals, and to promote honey production.
Makes total sense.
You know, with the current shortage of bees, and therefore, a decreasing production of honey, maybe we should forget science and start thrashing each other with pussy willows. Science has yet to come up with a solution, so lets throw caution to the wind and commence the whipping.
By the way – and this is my favorite part – (oh hell, who can pick a favorite part from all this?) participating in the processional was referred to as “going to the dyngus”.
I hear a song.
Going to the Dyngus and we’re
Gonna get flo-o-o-ogged…
So, party now, and thank me later. Go ahead and unabashedly get the Dyngus party started. Don’t be a dyngusberry.
You know who else thinks Dyngus Day is funny? CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Anderson descended into one of his infamous girly giggle fits while describing the Dyngus on The Ridiculist.