We will celebrate Easter in Poland soon, so I would like to talk today about customs connected with this holiday.
As we know, Easter is a moveable feast, and it depends partly on the phase of the moon. Many other holidays are connected with it like, for example, Palm Sunday, which we celebrate 7 days before Easter. This year we will celebrate it on the 28th of March.
Palm Sunday is a holiday which commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is the first day of Holy Week when Christians prepare themselves mentally for Easter. Poles associate this holiday mainly with palm competition.
It is good to talk as well a little bit about Polish Easter customs. In my opinion, besides palms, it is worth mentioning Easter eggs, święconka and śmigus-dyngus (wet Monday). Of course, they are known, as well in other Christian countries, but they come into mind first when you ask anyone from Poland about Polish Eastern customs.
Easter eggs are known in Poland since the 10th century, and they are a symbol of fertility, rebirth, and the empty tomb of Jesus. Traditionally Poles use to color them onion shells (brown), calendula’s flower (yellow), cornflowers (blue), or beet juice (pink).
According to Roman Catholic Church tradition, people put them into a decorative basket and go to the church on Holy Saturday to bless it. This basket consists of a couple of symbolic foods and is called “święconka”. Mainly you will find there Easter eggs and among others bread (symbolic of Jesus), sugar or chocolate lamb (symbol of Jesus’ resurrection), horseradish (symbolic of the bitter sacrifice of Christ), Easter cake called babka, sausage, and salt. These products are used to prepare a traditional Eastern breakfast on Holy Sunday (in my home that is white borscht).
The next day after Holy Sunday is the so-called wet Monday (śmigus-dyngus). This day people throw each other water. The origins of the celebration are uncertain, but probably it comes from pagan times.
That is the most basic information it is good to know about Eastern Polish customs. I wish happy Easter to all of you. Stay healthy!

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