8 kwi 2010

Polish Easter - Polska Wielkanoc

I wasn't fast enough - in the Polish Blog Adam wrote in an interesting way about traditional Polish Easter. I don't want to repeat all the facts, I add some crucial things.

Easter remains not only the Christian tradition. It's a mix of very old pagan customs and the faith in the Resurrection (Zmartwychwstanie) of Jesus. All the spring, fertility and new life symbols like egg, bunny*, little chicken, yellow and green colour (jajko, zajączek, kurczaczek, kolor żółty i zielony) are connected with celebration of the passage of seasons and the spring equinox. If you think it sounds like a heresy I recommend you for example this article. In the beginning the transition from paganism to Christianity was about domination and blood and some pagan celebrations had to be incorporated in order to convince more people and make the abstract new faith more understandable.

In Poland there's no tradition of giving presents for Easter. Families meet on Sunday and Monday in order to eat together and if the weather is ok spend time more actively (no exaggeration - mostly going for a walk). People who want to avoid all this pack and leave. In Poland you can still ski in April or just enjoy your time on the beach in lovely Sopot.

On Saturday people bring to a church a small basket (święconka) with hard-boiled eggs, bread, sausage, salt and pepper and Easter decorations. My grandma prepares an ascetic version and boiles eggs with onion skins. Here you will find more examples of pisanki.

Priests bless baskets and during the Easter breakfast on Sunday we share every product (on the first photo). Then we eat a lot more: pâté with horseradish (pasztet z chrzanem), salads and of course more eggs - here with my homemade mayonaise and anchois:

For lunch there are two traditional soups: żurek and barszcz biały. On the second dish Poles eat meat: pork, veal, chicken, turkey, white sausage or less popular fish. And for dessert Eastern pascha:

and mazurek - a cake with any ingredients on top you like. My family's version requires a great deal of work and patience because this glaze needs 5 hours. But it's worth, the result is mouth-watering! Impossible to buy in any shop.

You can burn some calories on Monday while running away from people with water;) Śmingus-dyngus is a joyful tradition but you have to be prepared - there's no mercy!

* in fact in Polish it's zając - a hare

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