It's a big day over in Buffalo. It's Dyngus Day! Buffalo is known as the Dyngus Day capital of the world. Tens of thousands of people celebrate. YNN's Ryan Whalen shows us how Polish-Americans kicked off the holiday last night.
Valentine Bakowski, Dyngus Day Organizer says, "You could call it a Polish Mardi Gras of some sort. The girls tap the guys with pussy willows. The guys in return squirt the girls with either perfume or water."
Andrew Kuczmarski, Party Go-er says, "It's a big celebration of Polish heritage. You get to listen to a lot of great polka music and have a really good time."
Natalia Krajas, Miss Dyngus Day says, "The best about Dyngus Day is just being Polish and it's so much fun throwing water on each other. Me and my cousins have been doing it ever since we were kids and it's just so much fun."
"I like the crowd and I like the people and everything else and a big celebration too. We have it for two days. We have it Sunday and Monday”, says Edward F. Wagner, Dyngus Day Volunteer.
The day after Easter many people who have fasted and sacrificed for Lent, let their hair down. But in Buffalo the Dyngus Day festivities start early with a party, polka and the blessing of the instruments, the ritual of Dyngus Day has been celebrated for hundreds of years in Poland.
Eddy Dobosiewicz, Dyngus Day Buffalo Co-founder says, "It's been very popular in Buffalo since 1961 when the Chopin singing society, which is located in the historic Palonia district, threw a party with a Dyngus Day theme that turned out to be a hell of a party."
Since then Buffalo's become the self-proclaimed Dyngus Day Capital of the World.
Dobosiewicz adds, "You know, in Buffalo, you don't need much of an excuse to have a good time, first and foremost. There's a lot of Poles in Buffalo, or people of some Polish heritage in their family. At one point Buffalo was the second largest Polish colony outside of Poland, second only to Chicago."
This year a former organizer started his own Pre-Dyngus Day party. He says as the crowds grow, so do the festivities.
"When I started at the Randolph Hall I was drawing maybe 150 people on a Sunday and now were drawing anywhere from seven to 800 people on a Sunday. Dyngus Day is always jammed for everybody,” says Valentine Bakowski, Dyngus Day Organizer.
The party continues Monday with events around Western New York including the Dyngus Day Parade.