Today is Dyngus Day, a day that began as a Polish tradition to celebrate Easter Monday. Boys used to hit girls legs with pussy willow branches and splash water on them as a way of flirting.
It’s also an opportunity for community members to meet candidates for local, state and national political office – a practice that has been a tradition since the 1930s. In South Bend, candidates meet at the West-Side Democratic Club where they speak on a small stage in front of a mural illustrating a 19th century Dyngus Day celebration.
U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy visited the Club on Dyngus Day in 1968 when he was seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination. He was assassinated shortly after midnight on June 5th, 1968, less than two months after visiting the Club and less than one month after winning Indiana’s Democratic Primary Election.