Easter in Poland
G IM N A Z J U M
A N N A VA S A
G O L U B -D O B R Z Y Ń
P O LA N D
After 40 days of Lent comes
the Easter holiday. It
begins with Palm Sunday.
The palms are inseparable
part of Polish culture and
tradition during Easter
time. They are made using
traditional materials such
as: desiccated flowers,
grass, corns and herbs.
These substitutes were used
in place of real subtropical
palms, which were never
easy to obtain in Poland.
It is customary to begin Palm Sunday services with a
procession. People keep their palms high to have them
blessed by a priest before the Mass ceremony and then
they circle the parish church three times.
Maundy Thursday is
the first day of Easter
Triduum. The next,
Good Friday, marks the
start of the vigil at
symbolic tombs of
Christ, which lasts
until Holy Saturday.
Good Friday was a day
of mourning. People
are supposed not to eat
Tomb Of Christ is traditionally arranged on Good
Friday. A lifesize figure of Christ lying in His tomb is
widely visited by the faithful, especially on Holy
Saturday. Each parish strives to come up with the
most artistically and religiously evocative
On Easter Saturday we go to
church to bless eggs and other
food. This typically Polish
tradition dates back to the
14th century. People bring
baskets of their Easter fare to
church for a special blessing
for all the different Easter
Inside the basket they place
beautifully dyed and
decorated eggs which we
call pisanki, bread, cake,
salt, paper and sausages.
All that is contained in the
basket the colored eggs
mean the risen Christ, the
bread and salt are for good
health and a prosperous
life, the sausages are
supposed to be a wish for
enough food and fertility
for the coming spring.
The basket is traditionally lined with a white linen or
lace napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood,
the typical Easter evergreen.
On Easter Saturday people visit also the tomb of
Christ. Tradition says that the tomb must be looked
after young boys or men ( firemen and scouts ) the
whole night before Easter Sunday.
The family breakfast on Easter Sunday morning is an
important part of Polish Easter celebration. On the
breakfast table, each of the participants wishes the
others of the family good luck and happiness. The food
to be eaten is usually blessed by the priest.
The table is decorated with green leaves
and a sugar or butter lamb may be placed
as a centre-piece.
Typical Polish Easter cakes are: mazurek and babka.
Mazurek is a holiday cake which is prepared only for
Easter. It is a flat cake, usually on a pastry or a
wafer, covered with paste of nuts, almonds, cheese,
colorfully decorated with jam, and raisins.
On top of this, decorations are placed, such as eggs
of icing willow branches made of marzipan,
chocolate flowers, and others.
Babka is a yeast vanilla or lemon cake, typical for
Polish Easter. It is called babka, a provincialism for
woman. The cake is always baked in a fluted pan and
resembles (the skirt of a woman ).
On Easter Monday there is a very ancient Easter
tradition called Śmingus-Dyngus – custom of
pouring water on one another. On this day boys roam
around the neighborhood to sprinkle girls with water
or perfume. This custom of watering has its roots in
pagan traditions since the pouring of water is an
ancient spring symbol of cleansing and purification .
It is said that girls who get caught
and soaked with water will marry
within the year. This may be the
very reason why some girls make
feeble attempts to escape the
dousing. In Poland for over 800
years Easter Monday has been
Switching Day. On this day boys
swat their girlfriends with a small