A Traditional Easter in Poland
Easter is major holiday in Poland, and Easter celebrations are not limited just to Easter Sunday. Easter-related traditions take place for more than a week in Poland. From Palm Sunday to Wet Monday, this period is marked with religious rites and practices with their origins in pagan times. It is important to note that Easter in Poland is celebrated according to the Western Roman Catholic calendar. Holy Week lasts from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. On Palm Sunday, the last Sunday before Easter everywhere in Poland you will see Easter palms, made of branches of spruce or willow, decorated with colourful dried flowers. Palm competitions take place throughout the country. Two notable ones are held in Lyse in the Kurpie region, north-east Poland, and in the village of Lipnica Murowana, southwest of Krakow, where some of the tallest palms, even thirty metres tall, are made. On Easter Saturday, baskets of traditional Easter food are taken to church to be blessed. This food, after being blessed, is then eaten as a part of the Easter Sunday meal known as the Easter Breakfast. The Easter Breakfast consists of hard-boiled eggs, cold meats, babka and other dishes, including a cake in the form of a lamb to symbolize Jesus Christ. Easter Monday is a family holiday in Poland and is called Smigus Dyngus, or Wet Monday, after the practice of men and boys throwing water all over the women and girls. However, the tradition isn't necessarily limited to males pouring water on females, the roles are often reversed. Regional variations of the tradition are also known to occur, and a woman's married status may protect her from being doused with water. However, it is best to assume that on this day, no one is safe from the Smigus Dyngus tradition! Pisanki are Easter eggs from Poland, handcrafted in traditional designs that recall pagan symbols of fertility and spring.