Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter in Poland

Easter and Christmas are the most important holidays in Poland. There are many traditions which represent both holidays. Polish people (Polacy) enjoy family gatherings accompanied by different types of meals. They also stay true to the traditions known since childhood, passed from generation to generation.
Happy Easter in Polish
Own source
Easter Sunday (Wielkanoc, Niedziela Wielkanocna) is a celebration of Resurrection of Jesus. After a forty-day period of fasting called Lent, Easter Sunday is a colorful and joyful family day.
Own source
A week prior to Easter Sunday, Catholics go to church with beautiful palms, that represent palm branches waved by the crowds when Jesus entered Jerusalem. This Sunday is called Palm Sunday - Niedziela Palmowa.  Most of the palms are made of willow, raspberry and currant branches mixed with box/yew. Palms are decorated with colorful ribbons, fresh flowers or even tissue paper flowers. Tradition of preparing beautiful palms lasted in many regions of Poland; in fact there are places which host annual contest for the tallest and the most beautiful palm. Those palms are really impressive and can reach up to over 30 meters height (around 100 feet). 
One of the customs is to gently hit each other with blessed palms after leaving the church. It is supposed to bring health and good luck. 
Palms are burnt at the church on Holy Saturday. The ashes from burnt palms are being used during Ash Wednesday the following year.
Polish Palm
Source:,  Author: Aneta S.
On Holy Saturday people go to the church to bless Easter baskets called święconka. Baskets consist of food items, which will be consumed the very next day during Easter breakfast. They are beautifully decorated with box branches, ribbons and little, yellow chicks. Typical Easter basket consists of dyed, hard boiled eggs called kraszanki, a small piece of sausage, a slice of bread, a slice of cake, salt, pepper, and sugar or chocolate lamb – a symbol of Resurrection. Day after that, Easter basket is placed on the breakfast table, and breakfast begins from sharing blessed eggs from święconka between family members. They are cut into small wedges, so that every family member gets a piece, and then exchanges Easter wishes.
Easter Sunday starts for many Catholics by attending very early morning Resurrection Mass followed by a procession. Morning Service usually starts at 6 a.m., so the breakfast takes place pretty early, around 9 a.m. Typical Polish Easter breakfast consists of, but is not limited to:
- white borscht (barszcz) - sour wheat soup 
or "Zurek" - sour rye soup (both served with hard boiled egg and white sausage)
- devilled eggs, usually with mayonnaise
- ham and other deli meats
- roasted meats
- Pasztet (meat spread)
- horseradish
- salads
- breads
- desserts such as: 
Mazurek” (very popular Easter cake, usually rectangular in shape and very sweet),
Babka” (usually round or loaf shaped pound cake or yeast cake), 
and variety of other cakes. 
All to satisfy a sweet tooth of anyone who has been fasting during Lent and gave up sweets.
Devilled Eggs
And some ham and fresh veggies
Trying to continue Polish breakfast tradition in USA

No comments:

Post a Comment