It’s Smigus Dyngus Day

Over on Metafilter, there’s a flaky conversation about Dyngus Day, which they keep misspelling.
Smigus Dyngus (shming-oos-ding-oos) is an unusual tradition of Easter Monday. This day (Monday after Easter Sunday) is called also in Polish “Wet Monday”, in Polish: “Mokry Poniedzialek” or “Lany Poniedzialek”. Easter Monday is also a holiday in Poland. It was traditionally the day when boys tried to drench girls with squirt guns or buckets of water. “Smigus” comes from the word smigac meaning swish with a cane since men tap the ankles and legs of the girls. “Dyngus” comes probably from German word dingen which means to come to an agreement since the girls needed to give men money to stop being swish and splash. The more a girl is sprayed with water, the higher are her chances to get married. Usually groups of young boys are waiting for accidental passerby near the farmer markets or in the corners of the streets. Older men behave like gentlemen spraying their wives with cologne water rather than with the regular one. The girls got their chances for revenge the following day. They can spray boys with water as much as they wanted on Tuesday.
Dousing may have pagan roots, or it may reflect Christian rebirth and baptism. It may hark back to the baptism of Poland’s Mieszko I and his court on Easter Monday in 966. Whether the tradition is historic or religious in origin, Smigus-Dyngus remains a significant, well-loved Polish tradition.

My childhood Polish community in downstate New York didn’t celebrate Dyngus Day, and my mother says she never heard of it, even though she lived in Poland for eight years during her childhood.
Nevertheless, that it should show up on Metafilter is a hoot.

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