Buffalo has a couple of its own specific Easter traditions. The butter lamb and Dyngus Day are the two things that really mark the holiday around here.
The Butter Lamb
The butter lamb may not be specific to Buffalo, but when the lambs come out, it’s spring in the city. Literally a chunk of butter shaped like a lamb, it’s most commonly found in the Polish and Russian sections of the city. It’s a cutesy Easter decoration…and a giant chunk o’butter. I was going to show you a picture of ours this year, but he seems to have met with an industrial accident sometime in his past and my mom didn’t want me to find an unbroken one.
Dyngus day is much more a Buffalo thing. Orginally a Polish holiday with admittedly pre-Christian roots, the story has it that Dyngus Day started as a traditional Slavic holiday that was Christianized in the 10th century to mark the baptism of a prince. As its celebrated now, it marks the end of Lent and Easter with a giant party. Which involves throwing water on people, and hitting people you find attractive with pussy willow branches. Unless, of course, if you’re female at which point you throw dishes, and then hit people with branches on Tuesday.
Dyngus Day is always held on the monday after Easter. Dyngus Day has traditionally been celebrated in Polish American neighborhoods, with the modern tradition taking root in Buffalo in the 1960s. Buffalo doesn’t boast the only Dyngus Day celebration in the United States, but it’s not a widespread celebration either and Buffalo does have the largest in the world with celebrations now lasting for a week.
A warning: if you do go to Dyngus Day, you will polka. I repeat, you. will. polka.