This year’s Easter I spent in my hometown Żagań, Poland. I was surrounded by the loved ones – my mom, brother, my partner and relatives. We all had a blessed time with a lot of Polish delicacies on the table.
Easter in Poland
Easter is major holiday in Poland, right after the Christmas, celebrated Western Roman Catholic calendar. Easter celebrations are not limited to Easter Sunday. Easter-related traditions take place for more than a week in Poland! Most of Poles are off work from Palm Sunday to Wet Monday. This amazing period is marked with religious rites and practices with their origins in pagan times. Holy week lasts from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
Palm Sunday takes place the week before Easter Sunday. It is marked by church attendance with palm-leaf substitutes in the form of willow branches or handmade bouquets of dried flowers. On Easter Saturday, baskets of Easter food are taken to church to be blessed; the food that is blessed is eaten as a part of the Easter Sunday meal. The Easter breakfast consists of hard-boiled eggs, cold meats, babka and other dishes, including a cake in the form of a lamb to symbolize Christ.
Easter Monday is a family holiday in Poland and is called Smigus Dyngus (also called Smingus-Dyngus), or Wet Monday, after the practice of men and boys pouring water on women and girls. However, the tradition isn’t necessarily limited to males pouring water on females – the roles are often reversed.
Pisanki are Easter eggs from Poland, handcrafted in traditional designs that recall pagan symbols of fertility and spring.
Easter babka – sweet, yeast-risen bread with raisins and candied citrus rind.
Easter soup (żurek wielkanocny) – often served at the Easter meal, 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.
Cabbage rolls (gołąbki) – a cabbage roll common in Polish cuisine made from lightly soft boiled cabbage leaves.
Poppy seed cake – the pastry is a light and flaky dough filled with a variety of sweet and savory fillings such as apricot, raspberry, prune, sweet cheese, poppy seed or even a nut mixture.
Things to keep in mind
While there is plenty to do in Poland before and after the Easter holidays, it is important for visitors to keep in mind that Easter and Easter Monday are holidays in Poland, which means that shops, banks, and some restaurants will be closed.
- Easter in Krakow is celebrated with a market and related events.
- The Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw and other cities is an annual program of classical music concerts that always takes place during Holy Week.
- Easter foods, Easter eggs, and other Easter-related souvenirs can be purchased during this time to commemorate the celebration of this springtime holiday in Poland.