Happy Dyngus Day 2012 Buffalo!

Also known as Easter Monday, Dyngus Day celebrates the end of the strict observance of Lent and the joy of Easter in Christianity, especially for Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

You could call it a Polish Mardi Gras of some sort, said Valentine Bakowski, Dyngus Day Organizer, according to YNN. The girls tap the guys with pussy willows. The guys in return squirt the girls with either perfume or water.

Buffalo, the location of the country's largest Dyngus Day celebration, officially kicked off the festivities of the Polish-American themed holiday.

Events start early in the day with a large party, polka and the traditional blessing of the instruments. The blessing of the instruments has been a tradition in Poland dating back hundreds of years.

Since that day, Dyngus Day has become the unofficial and self-proclaimed Dyngus Day Capital of the World.

Beginning in 966 A.D., Dyngus Day has been associated with the baptism of Prince Mieszko, according to DyngusDayBuffalo.com. Tradition states that the prince was baptized, along with his entire court, on Easter Monday. From this tradition comes the practice of pouring water on Dyngus Day. It is an ancient rite of cleansing, purification and fertility.

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, according to DyngusDayBuffalo.com.

In the United States, Dyngus Day is usually celebrated in Polish neighborhoods. Modern Dyngus Day in Buffalo has its beginnings with the Chopin Singing Society in the early 1960s.

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, said Eddy Dobosiewicz, Dyngus Day Buffalo Co-founder says, reported YNN. The success of Chopin Singing Society's parties of the 1960s led to several dances and parties that have excited festival goers for years.

And the party just keeps getting bigger. This year's celebration is expected to draw of 100,000 participants, reported Buffalo Rising.

When I started at the Randolph Hall I was drawing maybe 150 people on a Sunday and now we're drawing anywhere from 700 to 800 people on a Sunday. Dyngus Day is always jammed for everybody, says Bakowski, Dyngus Day Organizer.

Dyngus Day 2012 Schedule FINAL