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Monday, April 9, 2012

Poland's Dyngus Day

What does 'Dyngus' mean?


According to Zygmunt Gloger's 19th-Century Encyklopedia Staropolska, the name for this day can be traced back to a medieval form of the word dingnus, meaning 'worthy, proper, or suitable', and perhaps the German usage of dingen, 'to come to an agreement, evaluate or buy back' – there is an association here with the German word dingeier, meaning 'the eggs which are owing'.

The arrival of Christianity in Poland had a profound effect on this nation that is still overwhelmingly Catholic. Prince Mieszko I (Duke of the Polans, c. 935 - 992; grandfather of England's famous King Canute) was baptised on Easter Monday, 966, uniting all of Poland under the banner of Christianity, and in the first millennium, baptisms were celebrated exclusively during Eastertide, particularly on Holy Saturday and the Octave of Easter ...


Poland's Dyngus Day


It is the universal custom, among the common masses as well as among the distinguished, for men to soak the women on Easter Monday. On Tuesday, and every day thereafter until the time of the Green Holidays – Pentecost – the women doused the men.
The first recorded Polish writing on Dyngus Day; a medieval Polish historian wrote of what he termed the "Oblewania"

Barely had the day dawned on Easter Monday when I woke the boys and gathered some water to start throwing it on the girls. Up with the Piwezyny! (eiderdown)! There was screaming, shouting, and confusion. The girls are shrieking and hollering, but in their hearts they are glad because they know that she who isn't gotten wet will not be married that year. And the more they are annoyed, the more we dump water on them calling, Dyngus – Smigus! Then we had to change our clothes because there wasn't a dry thread on the girls and we boys were not better off.


http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/eastmond.html

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