2Basic information about Easter Easter observances in Poland actually begin on Ash Wednesday, when pussy willows called in Polish „bazie” or „kotki” are cut and placed in the water. These pussy willow twigs are used later on Palm Sunday as "palms" to be blessed in the church, because palms are not available in Poland.Holy Week (Wielki Tydzień) begins on Palm Sunday, which is a commemoration of Christ's entry into Jerusalem.During the Lent it is customary to participate in special religious observances such as Way of the Cross, Bitter Lamentations, and an annual three-day retreat which closes with the reception of the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist.The Easter season ends on Easter Monday when the traditional „Śmigus-Dyngus” custom is observed.
3Ash Wednesday The Polish Easter celebrations begin with Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is also the beginning of Lent.Most of the Poles try to go to the church for the mass, where priests mark their heads with a cross of ashes while saying: Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return".
4LentFor Polish Catholics, Lent is the most reflective spiritual season. During this time people are fasting, going to the confession, praying and visiting the specially decorated churches to see "Our Lord's Grave". Each parish strives to come up with the most artistically and religiously arrangement.During the Lent most of the people do not eat meat on Fridays. The preparation for Easter begins with 40 days of Lent, with its traditions of Way of the Cross and the Bitter Lamentations.
5Palm SundayOn this day people bring the pussy willows twigs or other bunch made of wild flowers instead of palms to the church for the blessing.Some people say that swallowing one of the buds from the pussy willows branch will ensure health all year.Parishioners processed with the palms through the streets around the parish, celebrating the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.Blessed "palms" are taken home and placed by the crucifix or holy images, and remain there until the next year.
6Easter TriduumThe Holy (Maundy) Thursday is the day which commemorates the Last Supper. During the mass priest wash feet of 12 men. The Holy Sacrament is carried to dungeon.The Good Friday commemorates the death of Jesus on cross. There is no mass during Good Friday. We don't eat meat this day.The next day is Holy Saturday, the day when Christ was laid in the tomb.
7Holy SaturdayOn Saturday people take to churches decorated baskets (in Polish „Święconka”) containing a sampling of traditional food to be blessed. Święconka is very popular Polish tradition.Also this day typically Polish ceremonies are performed in the church yard. It is the blessing of fire and water (inside of the church).
8Blessing foodŚwięconka is one of the most enduring and beloved Polish traditions.On Saturday people take to churches decorated baskets containing a sampling of traditional food to be blessed: hard-boiled shelled eggs, ham, sausage, salt, horseradish, bread and cake.Prominently displayed among these is the Easter lamb, usually molded from butter or sugar and colorful eggs called „Pisanki”.
9The food have a symbolic meaning, for example: eggs – symbolize victory over death, rebirth of life and Christ's resurrection,bread – symbolize wealth and prosperity, the symbol of Jesus,lamb - represents Christ,salt - represents purification, protect against putridityhorseradish - symbolic of the bitter sacrifice of Christ and powerham/sausage - symbolic of great joy and abundance.cheese – symbol of friendship between human and animalcake – symbol of perfection and competencesThe food blessed in the church remains untouched until Sunday morning.
10Easter eggsThe custom of coloring eggs for Easter is still observed in Poland. The eggs are decorated with many traditional Polish symbols of Easter. Most popular are lamb, cross, floral designs or Easter's greetings such as „Wesołego Alleluja”.According to the Polish folk craft experts we divide Easter eggs to different categories.The eggs decorated with the use of treated wax are called "pisanki".Another technique involved gluing colored paper or shiny fabric on them. The eggs which are painted in one color are called "malowanki" or "kraszanki".If patterns are etched with a pointed instrument on top of the paint, the eggs are then called "skrobanki" or "rysowanki".
11Easter SundayOn Easter morning, a special Resurrection Mass is celebrated in every church in Poland. At this Mass, a procession of priests, altar boys and the people circles the church three times while the church bells peal and the organ is played for the first time since they had been silenced on Good Friday. Following the Mass, people return home to eat the food blessed the day before.
12The Easter table is covered with a white tablecloth The Easter table is covered with a white tablecloth. The white tablecloth is indicative of the white swaddling cloth with which Jesus was wrapped when he was placed in the Holy Sepulcher. In the middle of the table housewife put colored eggs, cold meat, coils of sausages, ham, yeast cakes, cheese cake, and a lamb made of sugar or butter. Polish Easter Soup called „Żurek” or white borsch („Biały barszcz”) garnished with the hard-boiled eggs and sausage. There is also tradition to share blessed eggs with the members of the family and wish each other good health, happiness for the rest of the year.
13Easter Monday = Wet Monday Monday (just after Easter) is a holiday in Poland and is called in Polish "Lany Poniedziałek" or „Śmigus- Dyngus". This is a wonderful day of fun.The ancient Polish tradition on Easter Monday, is celebrated by everyone with enthusiasm by sprinkling each other with water. Especially kids have fun this day. Some people say that by being splashed with water on Easter Monday will bring you good luck throughout the year.