Polish Easter Traditions
Poland is a country full of unique traditions and customs, especially when it comes to holidays. As Easter is the most important holiday, even more than Christmas, we would like to tell you a few things about it so you won’t be surprised if you get a chance to celebrate it in our country.
As you might know the entire week before Easter is called Holy Week, and during that time there’s a lot of things going on here.
Exactly 7 days before the main celebrations take place, people gather for a procession with palms in their hands. This is the moment when they begin to celebrate. I know what you are thinking – Where the hell do Polish people take the real palms from? It’s too cold for them to grow there! Well, you’re absolutely right about that. In Poland, all we can get are ‘artificial palms’. They’re usually made from branches of native trees, including box, willow, yew and olive.
Some of the Polish villages and small towns organize artificial palm competitions. The most liked one takes place in Lipnica Murowana. In 2013 the biggest palm was over 32 meters high! Impressive?
Blessing of the Easter baskets
Probably one of the most enduring and beloved Polish traditions on Holy Saturday – not only in Poland but also within Polish communities all around the world. The name of this custom might sounds mysterious but it’s nothing more than blessing the food that will be eaten during the Easter feast. Of course, you won’t spot people bringing tables full of many traditional dishes right to the front of the church (it would be funny though) instead, a small amount of the most important food like eggs, bread, meat and butter are put inside the basket. It’s a very important tradition in Polish culture so you can often spot entire families participating in it.
The time has come. Sunday morning in this case means the big, traditional, family breakfast. It starts with sharing of the blessed food we’ve already talked about between family members. It’s also a time of small talk between each other during which everyone wishes each other and themselves all the best. After that, the main activity takes place – eating. We won’t lie to you! Some people may say that Easter is all about tradition, celebration, meeting with family but deep down they know that it’s also mainly (or all) about food. After the breakfast is finished, people take a walk and enjoy the rest of the day (unless somebody ate too much and they cannot move for a while…).
In Poland eggs are not only used as food on the table. As well, they’re an important part of the Easter tradition. Children decorate them with paints, crayons, stickers, tissue-paper etc. After they’re ready they are used as a decoration for the Easter table and they’re also a part of the Easter bucket.
Easter in Poland isn’t really about gifts like Christmas is for example but there is a little room for small presents for children. It is said that the giant Easter Bunny travels from house to house and he hides sweets somewhere in the children’s room during the night before Holy Sunday. Who knows, maybe it’s true? Personally, we believe that it’s neither bunny nor parents that do all the stuff but Santa Claus in disguise. Honestly!
Now the real fun begins – if you’re a girl you better read these words carefully! This is a day when young boys set up small (ok…not small. huge.) groups and they hunt for girls to…use their water guns against them. That’s right – they literally do everything they can to make them all wet. Don’t be surprised when you see a small boy running around with the big bucket of water ready to pour it out on a random girl he sees. The most dangerous places during that day? Churches, parks, small streets, squares…well to be honest, you can’t feel 100% safe anywhere ;). What are Foreigners in Poland’s tips for you? Don’t leave home alone unless…you carry a huge water gun with yourself to fight back!
Well, that’s it. We probably missed a few of the small or regional traditions and customs but after reading this article you should know the most important parts about Easter in Poland. We wonder, what does Easter look like in your country? If there’s something you would like to share with us, simply write us an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org