Dyngus Day is an old Polish tradition of celebrating the end of lent on the Monday after Easter with a large buffet of Easter foods like ham, kielbasa, fresh baked goods and eggs. Lots of dancing and celebrating. And it’s also a day when the boys chase the girls with pussy willows and sprinkle them with water.
Why pussy willows? They’re one of the first “budding” plants of spring. According to Polish legend.....a litter of kittens fell into a raging river while chasing butterflies. The mother cat sadly sat at the edge of the river crying, realizing there was nothing she could do, but the willows heard her cries and they swept their branches into the water, the kittens grabbed ahold of the branches and held on tightly until they were brought to the edge of the river and safety. Every spring from that day on the willows sprouted fur-like buds where the kittens had clung to the branches.