The first days of April will bring into the Polish homes one of the most important holidays for most Christians celebrated in honor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. It is Easter.
The Polish Easter is one of the very bright and distinctive Catholic Church celebrations, which has an especially solemn character and is filled with a variety of traditional Christian ceremonies, the original Polish rituals, elements of Polish culture, as well as unchangeable pagan symbolism. Celebrations of the Resurrection anticipates long strict forty-day Lent, designed to curb the body and to divert from the usual pleasures, to awaken remorse, repentance and memories of death on the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Traditionally, the Holy Week (Wielki Tydzien), which ends on Palm Sunday (Niedziela Palmowa or Niedziela MÄ™ki PaÅ„skiej), marking the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem precedes the celebration of Easter in Poland. On the Holy Thursday (Wielki Czwartek), which is closely associated with the Last Supper, people light the lights at the crossroads and feed the poor. Also that morning in the main national shrine of Poland, Yasnogorskiy monastery in Czestochowa, people change the framework of the miraculous icon of the Mother of God, also known as the Black Madonna.
Good Friday (Wielki PiÄ…tek) in Poland is a day of mourning, commemoration of the dead and visiting graves. On this day it is not good to slaughter animals, baking bread and enjoy scallops. On this day the Poles close mirrors and women bake traditional Easter cakes of flour and yeast called paska. Also, Good Friday symbolizes the end of fasting. On this day is organized the “funeral of zurek (traditional Polish vegetable soup) and herring”. Clay pot in which they prepare zurek is broken down and herring hungs on a tree branch, as a punishment for the fact that "within 6 weeks it ruled over the meat."
To be continued
Photo: Markus Lenk