Like every year winter gives way to spring, the nature slowly comes back to life. Everything around us will be gradually reborn after a long time of winter hibernation, which we don’t really want here any longer. I just love this time between winter freezing cold weather and hot summer days, as it sets me into a really good mood. Days get slowly longer and we don’t miss the feel of the sun on our faces. Everything comes back to life again, from the smallest and seemingly unimportant creatures to ourselves – individuals, who are totally aware of these cyclic moments of spring rebirth. It’s also the time during which we celebrate the most important Christian holiday – Easter, which symbolizes coming back to life and gives us hope for our future salvation. Every country celebrates this special time in a slightly different way, as you probably already know I’m a huge fan of Greece and I had a chance to spend one of my Easter holidays in this beautiful country. I was amazed with the way people celebrate this feast, as traditional processions are accompanied there by lighting candles and firework displays. I associated this way of celebrating more with the New Year’s Eve. Taking into account the importance of this Christian feast, I think this cheerful mood was really justified. Today I’m going to focus more on Polish Easter traditions, which are truly important for me, and which I’m going to preserve in the future.
The most famous markets take place before Christmas, however Easter markets are also very charming. You can buy everything you need at numerous stalls, from Easter palms, colourful Easter eggs or baskets to homemade baked goods and other fresh produce. This year I had a chance to take part in the market organized in my hometown Jaworzno. The school, in which I work, together with its students could sell beautiful handicrafts, as well as delicious homemade cakes. All the goods were sold to support the budgets of schools, which took part in the Easter market. I couldn’t resist and I also had to buy some ornaments. I bought a lovely decorated basket filled with colourful Easter eggs. I was skillfully bribed to take it by some colleagues from school in which I used to teach … they offered me a free muffin, which I couldn’t really resist. Besides the basket I also bought an Easter wreath, which beautifully decorates my window. What’s more, I got some ornaments made of salt dough, which were lovely painted and will be a great additional accessory on the table during Easter breakfast.
Like every year our homes are cheerfully embellished with bunnies, chicks, colourful eggs and wreathes so typical of Easter. I just love elaborately decorated Easter eggs, which very often become miniature artworks. They can be prepared with the use of different techniques, from painting to sticking ornaments on their surface. Decorations may not be the most important during this feast, and should be placed much further on this list, however I think it’s a very pleasant touch, which makes smile not only you, but also your close ones. As a child I just loved waiting for a so called Easter bunny, which secretly sneaked into my house at night, and left little gifts in a previously prepared nest. I think that every child loves this kind of presents. Another great idea is hunting for Easter eggs, which were previously hidden by parents in different parts of home or garden, and then collected by kids and put into the wicker baskets.
As I’ve already mentioned in one of my previous articles, I love sending cards for different occasions, as they are a very simple way to show our close ones and friends, regardless of the place where they live, that we always remember about them, and especially during holidays like Easter, which are the time full of reflection. Don’t exchange lovely embellished Easter cards with text messages or e-mails, this cheerful Easter mood should also accompany your wishes.
Palm Sunday was established to commemorate Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem. It’s a Sunday preceding Easter, during which we bring colourfully decorated Easter palms to church. As a child I loved taking part in processions and carrying proudly earlier prepared at home palms. In some regions of Poland there are held contests for the most beautiful and the tallest Easter palms, which can be made of various materials, and one can use different ornaments to prepare them. This feast is the beginning of the Holy Week, which gives food for reflection and prepares us for the proper celebration of Easter.
Blessing of the Easter basket.
On Holy Saturday families go to church to bless Easter baskets filled with various treats, which later appear on the Easter table. Food placed in the Easter baskets includes: eggs, sugar or baked lambs, salt, horseradish, cold meat and cakes, which have their own imagery and are put in the Easter baskets for centuries. After having blessed previously prepared food, people can start eating meals containing meat. In some homes, families eat meat on Holy Saturday, and in other ones they wait until the breakfast on Easter Sunday.
Typical dishes cooked for this feast include eggs and sour rye soup. You can’t also miss sweet treats, such as well known Easter cakes and chocolate sweets.
Easter Sunday starts with a traditional breakfast during which members of a given family share food previously blessed in the Easter baskets. It’s the perfect moment for chats and spending time with your close ones. After this formal breakfast, there’s time for coffee and sweet treats. Later on during the day, people go to church and keep celebrating the Resurrection.
Wet Monday is one of the funniest Easter traditions, during which we can symbolically pour our family and friends with water. Single girls are especially exposed to water baths. On that day they are eagerly visited buy single guys. While being a child and a teenager I used to have goose bumps, since boys didn’t know the limits and didn’t pay much attention to the weather conditions … they kept pouring girls and other people with huge amounts of water earlier prepared in the buckets or bathtubs. Sometimes they hid on the roofs of the buildings, as well as the bridges and took the unaware pedestrians by surprise. During past few years people have come back to symbolical puring girls and friends with water, thanks to the immediate actions taken by the police, who started punishing for exaggerated interpretation of this fun tradition.
I hope you also try to preserve Easter customs. I wish you Happy Easter spent in the circle of your family and friends. I also hope that this time will abound in pleasant moments at the fully set tables … and maybe most importantly that you’ll have some food for reflection related to Easter and the true meaning of our spiritual salvation.
See you around!