In the conditions of a full-scale war, many Ukrainians are forced to celebrate Easter abroad, in particular in Poland.
We tell you when and how Easter is celebrated in this country.
When is Easter in Poland in 2023: date, weekend
The celebration of Easter, like other major church holidays, does not coincide for Christians of Western and Eastern rites, this year Easter in Poland will be celebrated on April 9, 2023.
And April 8 and 10 will be official weekends in the country.
Traditions of preparation for Easter in Poland
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday
Easter is preceded by a forty-day fast.
Dies Cinerum is the Latin name for the Catholic event that precedes the beginning of Lent.
According to tradition, on this day Poles go to church service, after which the priest draws a cross on the forehead with the help of consecrated ashes - a symbol of the impermanence of life.
What is Fat Thursday?
Having prayed in the church, received a cross on the forehead and prepared for fasting, the next day Poles celebrate Fat Thursday.
Another name for this day is "Remains" (Ostatki).
Most Catholics recognize Fat Tuesday, that is, they "eat" on the eve of Ash Wednesday.
But for Poles, it is Thursday that is fat.
On this day, Poles try to eat as much as possible, to empty their pantries so that nothing tempts them during fasting.
In modern Poland, sumptuous feasts are accepted on this day.
Then the fast begins.
Palm Sunday for the Poles
Palmowa niedziela, the day Jesus was killed, is celebrated on the last Sunday before Easter.
According to Christian tradition, palm leaves are the symbol of this day.
The familiar willow often replaces palm leaves.
Willow twigs tied into bundles and decorated are called palemkas and are consecrated in churches.
It is believed that torches are talismans against evil forces, and the house in which they are located will bring happiness and comfort.
Moreover, with the help of willow branches, they wish success to each other - for this they strike a person.
Therefore, if they start to "beat" you with tree branches on the street, don't be afraid and don't be indignant, they wish you luck.
Big week before Easter
The week from Palm Sunday to Easter is characterized by the strictest fasting.
This week is called Wielki wędzy, and the week itself and each of its days are called great.
The period ends with Holy Saturday, and in some regions of the country with "herring funerals".
The rite of farewell to the fast is also called "Funerals of the crane and the herring" and is common only in some regions on the eve of Easter.
This is a more popular tradition of ending the fast - Poles get rid of the dishes they have become bored with during the fast, preparing for more varied food.
Easter holidays in Poland
Easter is celebrated for three days - on Holy Saturday, immediately on Easter and the following, the second day of the celebration
Poles devote the Saturday before Easter to preparatory activities.
It is mandatory to visit the church with the whole family, where the consecration of the święconki, a special basket with food, takes place.
Symbolic products must be placed in the basket - paska, homemade sausage, cheese, salt, horseradish, bread, honey, eggs.
Easter Sunday is the day of the end of fasting, the main day of the holiday.
All family members sit down at the table in the morning, after the festive service.
The second day of Easter is also called Śmigus-Dyngus.
Śmigus is the mentioned tradition of "beating" those around you with a palm tree consecrated with willow.
If they do it carefully on Palm Sunday, then on the second day of Easter they can already disperse.
The Dyngus tradition is reminiscent of Christmas carols, where children go from house to house begging for treats.
The second day after Easter is also called Wet Monday.
Because in case of refusal to treat children with candies, the "greedy" can be doused with water.
And in the evening, they can throw a "water bomb" from the window, splash from around the corner, or even just pour a bucket of water on their heads.
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