Easter is the most important holiday according to Catholicism and in Poland it is celebrated in series of unique rituals ranging from joyful to spiritual.
One week before Easter takes place a special celebration called Palm Sunday. According to Catholic tradition, this day was marked as the day of Jesus enetering Jerusalem. Churchgoers bring to Sunday Mass ‘palms’ made of colourful hand woven dried branches often ornated with flowers. Very popular are competitions in which most beautiful or the longest palms are being selected.
On the Great Saturday before Easter Sunday we paint hard-boiled eggs or prepare Easter decorations called ‘pisanki’. To die eggs some use onion peels and boil them together to create different colour. ‘Pisanki’ are very delicate decorations, as they are just empty egg shells covered and ornamented in different colours. Egg painting is especialy appreciated by children who are eager to play with colours and technics.
Most important Saturday activity is the preparation of Easter baskets that are later brought to church to be blessed. Baskets contain all the best samples of Easter food, in a symbolic ammount of course. They are lined with a white napkin and often decorated with little branches of boxwood. Usually most common treats that make it to the basket are: bread, a piece of sausage or ham, salt and pepper, a piece of cake and made of sugar Easter Lamb.
The most important day is Easter Sunday when we go to church for the Resurrection mass – a ceremonial service and procession. After begins a joyfull time at homes that come alive with families who gather to eat breakfast. Before the meal starts family members share halfs of the blessed Easter eggs from yesterday’s baskets. They exchange wishes and Joyful Hallelujah.
The breakfast is contained mostly by cold dishes and is a feast for meat lovers so it’s a typical Polish celebration: ham, sausage, roast meats, eggs, horseradish, bread. Easter breakfast is a very rich meal that has to be considered a day-off from the every day diet. For dessert it is usually lamb cake, babka, chrust, mazurek and other treats. The most typical babka is a tall and round multi-yolk sweet yeast cake with a hole in the middle.
The last celebrated day is Easter Monday known as Wet Monday, on which tradition tells that boys throw water over girls.