Easter is a major holiday in Poland, and Easter celebrations are not limited to Easter Sunday. Easter-related traditions take place for more than a week in Poland. From Palm Sunday to Wet Monday, this period is marked by religious rites and practices with their origins in pagan times. It is important to note that Easter in Poland is celebrated Western Roman Catholic calendar.
Easter Traditions in Poland
Holy Week lasts from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday, the week before Easter Sunday, 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 a 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. Regional variations of the tradition are also known to occur, and a woman's married status may protect her from being doused with water. However, it is best to assume that on this day, no one is safe from the Smigus Dyngus tradition!
Pisanki are Easter eggs from Poland, handcrafted in traditional designs that recall pagan symbols of fertility and spring.
Visiting Poland for Easter
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.