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The great Dyngus Day pussy willow crisis of 2012

The great Dyngus Day pussy willow crisis of 2012
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“Without the proper pussy willows, who knows. Marriages might not happen. Relationships could fall apart,”—Eddy Dobosiewicz, Dyngus Day Buffalo co-founder

Those of you who are wondering what the hell Dyngus Day is and why pussy willows are involved should not feel ill-informed. Celebrated the Monday following Easter Sunday, Dyngus Day (sometimes spelled Dingus) is only observed in a few cities throughout the U.S. It is a Polish tradition, sort of a bizarre amalgamation of Mardi Gras, Sadie Hawkins, and St. Patrick’s Day. The end of Lent and the beginning of the courting season are celebrated with splashings of water—which have evolved to squirting with plastic water pistols—and gentle lashings with pussy willow branches. (Singles are supposed to use the squirt guns and willow branches on anyone they happen to fancy.) There’s also lots of polka. And beer. And vodka. I’m proud to say that Buffalo has the largest Dyngus Day celebration in the U.S.

However. The ridiculous temps of the last few weeks were hotter than what we normally see in May and June and the salix discolor shrubs have reacted accordingly, starting to burst out of bud well before time. In Western New York, the little furry gray catkins have been showing signs of turning into their less desirable flowers weeks before they’re supposed to, according to this article.

Actually I think we’ll be fine—the temps just took a sharp turn downward, which might help—but the Dyngus organizers have been deluged with suggestions and even some entrepreneurship on the part of pussy willow shrub owners who are auctioning off their branches to the highest bidder.

See? There are all kinds of hidden consequences to this End of Days weather dysfunction we’ve been seeing. Dyngus Day is April 9 this year. I’ll be a judge at the parade and I’ll be watching for any pussy willow shortage. Fortunately, it won’t affect me personally.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on March 26, 2012 at 4:57 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.

8 Comments

    • Susan
    • 1st January 1970

    Wow – just when you think you’ve heard it all, along comes Dyngus Day! I’m half Irish and half Swedish, so that’s completely out of my orbit. Thanks for this post, Elizabeth – as they say on South Park, “I learned something today!”

    • Jason
    • 12th August 2001

    I suggest that Dyngus Day be moved to coincide with Pulaski Day on the first Monday in March. This would reduce the danger of early pussy willow bloom and raise awareness of the great hero Casimir Pulaski. Also, Pulaski Day is an officialholiday (schools closed, etc) in Chicago and Cook County.

    • Laura Bell
    • 1st June 2013

    Can’t imagine that the pussywillows often do cooperate with Dyngus Day given that it depends on the fickle scheduling of Easter Sunday. I mean, some years Easter actually does arrive this early (I think March 23rd is the earliest possible date). Other years, we have to wait until the end of April for the Easter Bunny. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a plant, especially when it’s getting all of the signs that Spring has indeed arrived. Like trying to schedule puberty, I would think.

    • Andre
    • 9th July 2013

    Never heard of it!
    Anything for fun I guess.

    • Mary Gray
    • 23rd October 2016

    Best blog post title ever! And “gentle lashings with pussy willow branches”….I’m putting that one in my Stuff Gardeners Actually Said/Wrote file…wait’ll you see THAT collection!

    • admin
    • 26th October 2016

    Never heard of Dyngus Day. Sounds like a spring lark!

    • Susan in the Pink Hat
    • 27th October 2016

    As long as I get to eat pierogi and a panchki, I’m good.

    • emily
    • 30th October 2016

    I’ve read that sprinkling water on girls on Easter Monday is traditional in Hungary. One source said that originally it was sometimes pails of water from the well. Water pistols and pussy willows sounds nicer.

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