The long Easter weekend has arrived and households all across Poland are preparing for yet another big feast. While Poland shares a lot of Easter traditions with other European countries, such as the Easter bunny which hides sweets in children’s rooms, backyards or family homes, there are also some traditions you may not have heard of before.
Generally, the Easter period starts well before what is known as “Good Friday” in most countries. It starts one week before the holy Sunday, on Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is celebrated 7 days before the main Easter celebrations. Poles across the country gather for procession holding palms in their hands and this is the moment the Easter celebrations are started.
The Easter Basket
The blessing of the Easter basket is possibly one of most important Easter traditions in Poland. The name of this tradition might be confusing at first. Generally, it is not the actual basket that is getting blessed but the food inside the basket.
Poles take a small basket of food to church where the contents of this basket are being blessed. The baskets are usually decorated with white linen or a lace napkin and boxwood. Inside the baskets one can usually find Easter eggs, a piece of sausage or ham, salt and pepper, bread, a piece of cake and an Easter Lamb made of sugar or even plastic.
For some Poles, Easter Sunday starts early. They get up to attend church as early as 6am for Resurrection mass, a ceremonial service and procession. Afterwards, families gather together for breakfast during which the blessed food is shared among the family members and friends. They engage in small talk and exchange well wishes. The rest of the day is spent with the family. Children will search for the sweets the Easter bunny has left for them, families go for walks or just simply spend time together, chat and well……… eat some more.
In recent years, Wet Monday has become a bit of a public debate. For some, it is harassment, for others it is part of the Easter tradition and for the boys it still is a lot of fun. Traditionally, on wet Monday boys go through the streets and splash the girls with water. Groups of boys will roam the streets armed with buckets of water and water guns, trying to seek out their “victims”. If you decide to leave the house on wet Monday, make sure you either avoid larger public places or carry your very own water gun in order to fight back. Additionally, it is not uncommon for fire brigades to use their equipment while driving around the main squares of cities and towns across Poland. Of course, they are not to splash people but they will shoot water into the air or splash some of the houses.