Where can you catch an accordion parade while slamming Polish deliciousness and jamming to polka from morning to night? The answer is Cleveland’s Dyngus Day celebration! Cleveland will hold its seventh annual Dyngus Day festival April 17.

Dyngus Day is the name for the Monday after Easter Sunday. Though its exact origins are uncertain, it’s mentioned in writings from the 1400s and may go back to pagan times before 1000 AD. The Polish festival celebrates the end of Lent and the joy of Easter. The day is also known as “Wet Monday” because girls and boys traditionally chased each other with water and pussy willows, which is why squirt guns and pussy willows are listed as “essentials” for the Cleveland celebration.

cleveland dyngus dayOver time, Dyngus Day has become a time to celebrate Polish-American and other Eastern European cultures (many prominent in Parma). More than 30,000 people celebrated Cleveland Dyngus Day last year, and this year’s celebration is anticipated to be even larger with events happening at bars and restaurants in three neighborhoods: Detroit Shoreway, Tremont and Ohio City. Home base for the festival is the corner of Detroit Avenue and W. 58th Street. There will be a free Trolley shuttle during the latter half of the day to get you around among locations. Check online for the complete schedule.

.Clevelanddyngus.com describes the event as a “Polka blast that rocks the streets of Cleveland with Polka jams from morning until night. In Cleveland specifically, our goal is to not only make this a Polish Cultural Festival, we also want to celebrate our Polka Heritage as well as the other Eastern European cultures still thriving in Cleveland.”

Parma’s own Rudy’s Strudel is the official bakery sponsor of Dyngus Day. The bakery has been kind enough to let the Young Professionals of Parma work out of its booth to help promote Polish and Parma pride. So put on your polka pants and come celebrate with us!


Post authored by Kathie Zipp.