Warsaw 10 ºC
Contact us

In Poland, Easter is one of the most joyful and meaningful religious holidays. On Easter Sunday, the church bells ring exceptionally, announcing the resurrection of Christ. In the Podhale region, it was widely believed that the church bells' ample sound could wake the legendary knights sleeping in the cave in the Tatra Mountains. Easter bells' resonance was said to chase away evil spirits and cast away any hatred out of people's hearts.

Easter is an exceptional holiday, inscribed in Polish tradition and culture for centuries and generations. Time around Easter is marked by many festive and colorful events. Most of the tourist attractions related to Easter focus around fairs and markets, lively Palm Sunday processions, and the most intricate and tallest Easter palm competitions. Egg painting and decorating workshops are also a big hit. The first Monday after Easter is known as lany poniedzałek or "Wet Monday" and is celebrated by soaking other people with a copious amount of water. This tradition preceded Christianity's advent and was initially accompanied by other rituals, still practiced in some regions.

Undoubtedly, one of the most observed practices is the blessing of the Easter baskets. A traditional święconka, as the basket is called in Poland, is filled with bread representing the body of Christ, an egg as a sign of resurrection, sausage or ham symbolizing abundance, health, and fertility, cake as a mark of skill and perfection, horseradish – the bitter sacrifice of Christ, and a sugar lamb as a symbol of the victory of life over death. The basket is traditionally lined with a white linen napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood. Poles take great pride in preparing their baskets, and many are arranged most artistically and elaborately.

In many regions of Poland, Easter is also an opportunity to hand out gifts. In Silesia, Western Pomerania, and Greater Poland, children eagerly await small gifts brought by the Easter bunny. This custom arrived in western Poland from bordering Germany.

Spectacular palm processions are a common sight on Palm Sunday. In the Łyse parish in the Kurpie region, Palm Sunday begins with the holy mass in St. Anna Church, followed by the procession and the tallest palm tree competition. Some of the paraded contraptions exceed 20 feet (6 m) and catch the eye with colorful and vibrant crepe paper flowers, green bilberry, or juniper bushes affixed to the top.

In another part of Poland, the market square of Lipnica Murowana- a small town located several dozen kilometers from Kraków - hosts a competition for the tallest plaited palm. These constructions can reach an astonishing height of over 65 feet (20 m). Palms that tall are carefully lifted upright and securely tied to nearby trees and buildings.  The palms of Lipnica Murowana are made of willow canes and decorated with bulrush, juniper, and lingonberry branches. The tops are crowned with a crest of colorful crepe paper flowers, ribbons, and strips.

According to tradition, it is believed that the height of the palm reflects the size and wealth of its owner's estate. A person who fails to prepare a palm is likely to suffer from bad luck and misfortune.

The unique character of Easter can also be found in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. The Kalwaria Zebrzydowska Religious and Landscape Park registered on UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List consist of a complex of chapels built over the surrounding hills in the picturesque landscape of the Beskid Makowski.

The town owes its existence and subsequent fame to the Palatine of Kraków, Mikołaj Zebrzydowski, who in 1600 commissioned the church and monastery for the Bernardine Order as well as a complex of chapels like the Calvary in Jerusalem.

With time more chapels were erected, eventually reaching 42 buildings, all set in the natural landscape and featuring the famous Calvary avenues. It takes about four hours to cover the whole trail of almost 4 miles (6 km.). Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is also well known for the Passion plays taking place during the Holy Week.

As one of the most celebrated holidays in the Catholic Church, Easter festivities are filled with traditional religious and spiritual services, folk culture, and other events. This rich selection of attractions plus the bright, warm, and sunny spring weather creates a perfect reason to visit Poland around this time.        

 

Subscribe to our newsletter