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Easter Monday

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Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is celebrated as a holiday in some largely Christian cultures, especially Roman Catholic cultures. Easter Monday in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar is the second day of the octave of Easter Week.

Formerly, the post-Easter festivities involved a week of secular celebration, but this was reduced to one day in the 19th century. Events include egg rolling competitions and, in predominantly Roman Catholic countries, dousing other people with water which traditionally had been blessed with holy water the day before at Easter Sunday Mass and carried home to bless the house and food.

In Poland and parts of the United States, Easter Monday is called Dyngus Day, meaning "Wet Monday", referring to traditional pranks involving water.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite, Easter Monday is known as Bright Monday or Renewal Monday, and is the second day of Bright Week. The services are exactly the same as on Pascha (Easter Sunday), except that the hymns from the Octoechos are in Tone Two. It is customary to have a Crucession (procession headed by a cross) either after Paschal Matins or after the Paschal Divine Liturgy. It is customarily a day for visiting family and friends. Easter Monday is also the day when Saint George is celebrated, in years when the regular St George's Day (April 23) comes on or before Easter.


In Australia, people enjoy outdoor sporting events, such as the Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival in South Australia, Australian Three Peaks Race in Tasmania as well as the Stawell Gift. They may also eat a chocolate bilby[1] or chocolate Easter eggs.[2]


In Egypt, the ancient festival of Sham El Nessim (Arabic: شم النسيم, literally meaning "smelling of the breeze") is celebrated on the Coptic (i.e. Eastern) Easter Monday, though the festival dates back to Pharonic times (about 2700 BC). It is celebrated by both Egyptian Christians and Muslims as an Egyptian national holiday rather than as a religious one. Traditional activities include painting eggs and eating fish that has been buried underground.

Central Europe

Dyngus Day or Wet Monday (Polish Śmigus-Dyngus or lany poniedziałek) is the name for Easter Monday in Poland. In the Czech Republic it is called velikonoční pondělí or pomlázka. In Slovakia veľkonočný pondelok (Easter Monday) is called Šibačka/Polievačka or Oblievačka too. All countries practice a unique custom on this day.

In Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic[3] traditionally, early in the morning boys awake girls by pouring a bucket of water on their head and striking them about the legs with long thin twigs or switches made from willow, birch or decorated tree branches; however, the earliest documented records of Dyngus Day in Poland are from the 15th century, almost half a millennium after Poland adopted Christianity.

Benedykt Chmielowski in Nowe Ateny cite after "Carolo Berthold" that this ritual was already in custom in 750, 250 years before Poland officially adopted Christianity.

One theory is that Dyngus originates from the baptism on Easter Monday of Mieszko I (Duke of the Polans, c. 935 - 992) in 966 AD, uniting all of Poland under the banner of Christianity. Dualism and "twins" are featured in Slavic pre-Christian paganism. Dyngus and Śmigus were twin pagan gods; the former representing water and the moist earth (Dyngus from din gus - thin soup or dingen - nature); and the later representing thunder and lightning (Śmigus from śmigać or to make a whooshing sound). In this theory, the water tradition is the transformation of the pagan water god into the Christian baptism. The custom of pouring water was an ancient spring rite of cleansing, purification, and fertility. It is alleged that the pagan Poles bickered with nature/Dyngus by means of pouring water and switching with willows to make themselves pure and worthy of the coming year. Others have suggested that the striking tradition is the transformation of the ritual "slap" of Christian confirmation. However, still others suggest that the Śmigus tradition is actually simply a youthful recapitulation of a Good Friday Polish tradition, in which parents wake their children with switches from twigs, saying the words of a Lent prayer "God's wounds" - "Boże rany".

Early, the Dyngus custom was clearly differentiated from śmigus: dyngus was the exchange of gifts (usually eggs, often decorated - pisanka pl. pisanki), under the threat of water splashing if one party did not have any eggs ready, while Śmigus referred to the striking.

Later the focus shifted to the courting aspect of the ritual, and young unmarried girls were the only acceptable targets. A boy would sneak into the bedroom of the girl he fancied and awaken her by drenching her with multiple buckets of water. Politics played an important role in proceedings, and often the boy would get access to the house only by arrangement with the girl's mother.

Throughout the day, girls would find themselves the victims of drenchings and leg-whippings, and a daughter who was not targeted for such activities was generally considered to be unattractive and unmarryable in this very coupling-oriented environment.

Most recently, the tradition has changed to become fully water-focused, and the śmigus part is almost forgotten. It is quite common for girls to attack boys just as fiercely as the boys traditionally attacked the girls. With much of Poland's population residing in tall apartment buildings, high balconies are favorite hiding places for young people who gleefully empty full buckets of water onto randomly selected passers-by.

Another related custom, unique to Poland is that of sprinkling bowls (garce) of ashes on people (starts men on women) or houses, celebrated a few weeks earlier at the "półpoście." This custom is almost forgotten, but still practiced in the area around borders of Mazuria and Masovia.

United States

Though not largely observed in the United States, the day remains informally observed in some areas such as the state of North Dakota, and some cities in New York, Michigan and Indiana. Easter Monday was a public holiday in North Carolina from 1935 to 1987. Texas schools often have two holidays on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Dyngus Day in the United States

Traditionally Polish areas of the country such as Chicago observe Easter Monday as Dyngus Day. In the United States, Dyngus Day celebrations are widespread and popular in Buffalo, New York, Wyandotte, Michigan, Hamtramck, Michigan, La Porte and South Bend, Indiana. Wet Monday is also celebrated at Jonathan Edwards College, one of the residential colleges at Yale University, when each year the freshman class storms the college with water weapons, where upperclassmen are ready to defend the college and ensure no one goes home dry.

Dyngus Day In Buffalo, New York

The world's largest organized Dyngus Day celebration is found in Buffalo, New York. In Buffalo's eastern suburbs and the city's Historic Polonia District, Dyngus Day is celebrated with a high level of enthusiasm.

Although Dyngus Day was celebrated in traditional Polish Buffalo neighborhoods dating back to the 1870s, modern Dyngus Day in Buffalo had its start with the Chopin Singing Society. Judge Ann T. Mikoll and her late husband Theodore V. Mikoll held the first party at the Society's clubrooms on at the New York Central Terminal. Chopins left the Eastside in the 1980s and moved out to new clubrooms in Cheektowaga where the festival attracted a new generation. In recent years, the focus of Dyngus Day in Buffalo has returned to the Historic Polonia District in the form of large parties at the Buffalo Central Terminal, St. Stanislaus - Bishop & Martyr Church, the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle and at many family owned Polish taverns. The World's First Dyngus Day Parade, which makes its way from the Broadway Market through the Polonia District and to the Buffalo Central Terminal, was inaugurated in 2006. In 2008, the parade attracted over 25,000 people.[4]

In 2006, two time Grammy Award nominated Polka Band Jerry Darlak & the Touch recorded the “Everybody’s Polish on Dyngus Day” polka. “The polka is meant to capture the uniqueness of the Buffalo Dyngus Day celebration,” explained the song’s composer Ray Barsukiewicz. “Lyrics include references to pussy willows, the sprinkling of water, polka dancing and parties that last until daylight. Also in 2006, Lenny Gomulka and the Chicago Push released the "Dyngus Day in Buffalo Polka" that recognized Buffalo's time-honored traditions. Gomulka is regarded as one of the nation’s premiere polka stars with 11 Grammy Award nominations to his name.

In 2007, the world’s oldest working fireboat, the Edward M. Cotter, received the honor of being named, the "World's Largest Dyngus Day Squirt Gun.” “This could explains why the Cotter is painted red and white,” said Marty Biniasz, alluding to the colors of the Polish flag and the Cotter’s current livery. “It’s only right that The Dyngus Day Capital of the World should have the World’s Largest Squirt Gun. We are proud to now make Buffalo’s most loved ship part of our Dyngus Day Buffalo tradition.” As the world's oldest working fireboat, the Cotter was built in 1900.

Dyngus Day In Indiana

In South Bend, Indiana, the day marks the official beginning to launch the year's political primary campaign season (particularly among Democrats)- often from within the West Side Democratic Club, the M.R. Falcons Club, and local pubs and fraternal halls. Notable politicos who have celebrated Dyngus Day in South Bend include the late Robert F. Kennedy; former Governor Joe Kernan; Senator Evan Bayh; former Congressman and New York University President John Brademas; former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; former Congressman, 9/11 Commission member and current Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer, former President Bill Clinton; and the late Aloysius J. Kromkowski, a long time elected St. Joseph County public servant, for whom the "Al Kromkowski polka" is named. [5]

Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 appearance was marked by his downtown rally attended by a crowd of over 6,000, his participation in the Dyngus Day parade, and his leading of the crowds at the West Side Democratic Club in the traditional Polish well wishing song Sto Lat (phonetic: 'sto la') which means "100 years". Indiana was RFK's first primary and first primary victory, which set in motion momentum and victories that would have led to his nomination as the Democratic Party candidate for President had he not been assassinated. [6]

Starting in 2004, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana began celebrating Dyngus Day at the request of South Bend students. The event includes free Polish sausage for students as well as a free concert. [7]

Easter Monday In North Carolina

The Easter Monday holiday in North Carolina stemmed from the tradition in the early 20th century of state government workers taking the day off to attend the annual baseball game between North Carolina State College (Now North Carolina State University) and nearby Wake Forest College (now Wake Forest University and moved to Winston-Salem, NC). The holiday was enacted in 1935 and remained until 1988, when the official state holiday was moved to Good Friday to match the rest of the nation.

Easter Monday in Texas and Southwest

Many Independent and other type School Districts and Higher Education institutions in Texas and other southern and southwestern states do not conduct classes on Easter Monday, although it is not an official State of Texas holiday. Many, but not all Texas School Districts follow this practice. As many of the same Independent School Districts also do not attend classes on Good Friday (which is usually given a "Spring Holiday" or other type of secular designation), a mini-Spring Break of 4 days is often the result.

Elsewhere in the world

  • In Battle Creek, Michigan, people eat cased meats (i.e. Hotdogs, Brats, Polish Sausage) smothered in kraut, onions and mustard.
  • In Canada, people eat Easter eggs and enjoy time outdoors[8].
  • In Germany, people go out into the fields early in the morning and hold Easter egg races[9]. For Roman Catholics, Easter Monday is also a Holy Day of Obligation in Germany.[10]
  • In Guyana, people fly kites, which are made on Holy Saturday.
  • In Leicestershire, England the people of Hallaton hold a bottle-kicking match and Hare Pie Scramble[11].
  • In the Netherlands, people eat a festive breakfast and go hiking or cycling in the countryside [12].

Official holiday

Easter Monday is an official holiday in the following countries (The Eastern Orthodox Church observes Easter on a different date due to use of the Julian Calendar vs. the Gregorian Calendar, which is used in the Western Church to determine the date of Easter each year. Nations on this list indicated as "Eastern Rite" observe the Eastern Orthodox calendar)

Easter Rising

On Easter Monday, 1916, an insurrection staged in Ireland took place with the aims of overthrowing British rule and creating an Irish Republic.

Although the Rising failed and was condoned by Irish citizens, it shortly came to be viewed as a heroic revolution, especially after the execution of a number of its leaders.

See also


  1. "Even in chocolate, rabbit beats bilby". 
  2. "Holidays: Easter Monday in Australia". Time and Date. 
  3. Asiedu, Dita (2004-04-12). "Easter Monday Radio Prague special". Český rozhlas 7. Radio Praha. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  4. Borsa, John. Buffalo is Unofficial Dyngus Day Capital. WKBW-TV. 14 April 2009.
  5. Archives, National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs and numerous South Bend Tribune articles (e.g. Apr 12, 2009) available on microfilm and for purchase online.
  6. Archives, National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs and numerous South Bend Tribune articles(e.g. Apr 12, 2009) available on microfilm and for purchase online.
  7. Archives, National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs and numerous South Bend Tribune articles (e.g. Apr 12, 2009) available on microfilm and for purchase online.
  8. Easter Monday in Canada
  9. Easter Monday in Germany
  10. (German) Partikularnorm Nr. 15 der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz. Accessed 2009-04-08.
  11. Easter Monday in the United Kingdom
  12. Easter Monday in the Netherlands
  13. "Public Holidays Act, 1994 (36 of 1994, South Africa)" (PDF). 1994-12-07. Retrieved 2006-04-05. 

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Easter Monday. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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