What's the deal with water and pussy willows on Dyngus Day? (pic - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

What's the deal with water and pussy willows on Dyngus Day? (pictures)

Dyngus Day has some odd traditions. (Source: Wikipedia) Dyngus Day has some odd traditions. (Source: Wikipedia)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

The Polish holiday Dyngus Day is growing every year in Cleveland and comes with some very interesting traditions. 

Water and pussy willows play a large role in the celebration of Slavic traditions and culture. 

But why are people pouring out water and slapping legs with twigs and pussy willows?

The Pouring of Water:

According to PolishPlate.com the tradition of the pouring of water goes back to the baptism of the first king of Poland, Prince Mieszko I. 

"Tradition states that Prince Mieszko I along with his court was baptized on Easter Monday," according to PolishPlate.com.  

The fact that the baptism took place the day after Easter is why Dyngus is celebrated on this day every year. 

"Thus, Dyngus Day and its rites of sprinkling with water have become a folk celebration in thanksgiving for the fact that the first king of Poland was baptized into Christianity, bringing Catholicism to Poland."

Flirting with pussy willows:

Pussy willows hold a couple of symbolic uses during Dyngus Day celebrations. 

First, it's believed pussy willows are used because they are among the first to bloom in the spring. 

Secondly, it's a chance for men to show their interest in a particular woman. 

"It was custom to throw water and hit the girls on their legs with twigs or pussy willows," according to PolishPlate.com. "The ladies would reciprocate by throwing dishes & crockery and Tuesday was their day of revenge, imitating the same tactics."


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