If you are doing your student exchange program in Poland during Easter period, it is a great chance to get an idea about Polish traditions.
Easter is one of the most important celebration for Polish people and they do celebrate the holiday in a special way. Annually, numerous colorful Easter markets are organized in Polish cities and a lot of preparation in the Polish families is going on. Family put a lot of effort to cook delicious meals and then to have the greatest time with the loved ones.
What Is It All About?
It is believed that during the same period long time ago Jesus Christ came back to life after crucifixion, which is a wonder that makes the faith of Catholics stronger. As Poland is one of the most religious countries in the world, Polish Easter is very important to Poles and there is a process that people do respect and follow carefully during the 3 days of Easter celebration. Usually Easter is in either March or April and the precise day is determined by church. This year, Poles celebrate Easter in the night of 15th of April (Saturday) to Monday 17th. Easter is not only a church holiday but also a bank holiday, which means that the majority of places will be closed.
*Tip: If you have some shopping to do, it is better to make it before Saturday!
First day of Polish Easter (Swieconka)
On Easter Saturday, Poles are painting boiled eggs (called pisanki) using a special kit for eggs. It can be bought in any grocery store or supermarket. Yet, even though those kits have various colorful paints, some people still color the eggs in more traditional way; they are boiling the eggs with the onion skins, which make them brown. Painted egg is one of the important pieces of Easter Basket.
In addition to the eggs, Poles like also putting in the basket such things as piece of sausage, bread, salt, pepper, a figure of lamb made from sugar, a fruit, and a cupcake (babeczka). The basket is usually decorated with green leaves and lined with a napkin before putting the items into it. Once the task of preparing the basket is filled, it is taken to church to be blessed by Holy Water by the priest.
Second day of Polish Easter (Niedziela Wielkanocna)
Easter Sunday is the day when the family members gather around the breakfast table, where the Easter traditional meals and pieces from the blessed basket are served.
Then, after having a family breakfast, they often invite other family members to join them for lunch or they accept invitation from others and go for a lunch to other family’s house themselves. One of the great Polish traditions for Easter is to make different kinds of salads, cakes, and homemade meat products and to leave them on table for the whole Sunday, so people can help themselves as often as they want. One of the most popular sweets adopted by Poles during Easter is the Polish cheesecake (Sernik). All supermarkets and grocery stores are full of them; yet, many people prefer to make the cake themselves. Therefore, if you feel like doing it too, you can find an easy cheesecake recipe below.
You will need:
- 700g of the Polish cottage cheeze or so called ‘Twarog’
- 5 eggs
- 4 big spoons of flour
- 200g of sugar
- 50g of butter
- 1 big spoon of vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
- zest of half orange
- juice of 1 lemon
- 70g of raisins (if you like)
- Put the raisins in hot water for 10 minutes
- Reheat the oven on 150 degrees
- In a big bowl, mix the cottage cheese, the sugar and the eggs (mixture 1)
- Take the raisins from water and put them into the flour
- Add the flour and raisins to the mixture 1, add the zest, melted butter and vanilla, and mix everything
- Pour the whole mixture into the baking form and bake it for about 1 hour
- Let it cool down before serving
Third day of Polish Easter (Smigus Dyngus)
During that day, it is common in Poland to throw water over each other. Some Poles just throw a few drops of
water, while other people take an absolute advantage of the last day of holiday to completely wet others.
Hopefully you will enjoy your time in Poland and will not get in the place where people are throwing water at each other!
Happy Easter everyone or “Wesołych Świąt!” as Polish people would wish you!