Feast of Corpus Christi in Kraków

The Corpus Christi celebration, called "Boze Cialo"in Polish, is a very big feast in Poland and it always was, at least since I can remember. It always takes place on one of the Thursdays (depending on the date of Easter) in June.

This was one of few religious days that was also observed by the communist state, because it was also a day off from work. The Communist government wanted to ignore it as much as possible ... the best American movies were played on TV during the processions. Still, the majority of people preferred going to the outdoor processions rather than staying home to watch movies.

Every year there were continuous tensions between the church, which wanted to receive permission to have as many outdoor processions as possible, and the government, which blocked the processions as much as it could. Still, almost every year many outside altars were built by parishoners and volunteers, and people demonstrated their religious beliefs by hanging holy pictures and ornaments from their windows.

Corpus Christi had both a religious and folkloric atmosphere. This was probably one of the few times during the year when people, mainly from rural areas, wore their traditional regional dress, making it an excellent time for tourists to see Polish folklore at its best.

text© Jagoda Urban-Klaehn

In Kraków this year, the celebration was recorded by Jerzy and his son as the people lined the street to watch the procession.


On Corpus Christi Day people usually carry flags with embroidered portraits


People also carry the figures (sculptures) and icons of God and saints


Altar boys and parishoners carry figures of Saints.


Girls in traditional costumes scatter rose petals.


Children who made their First Communion this year wear their special clothes for this processsion.


Large banners embroidered with the images of Saints are carried.


People line the street to watch the procession.


Some people decorate the windows of their apartment.

photographs ©Jerzy 2006
article prepared by Nancy Maciolek Blake

Return to the Polish Culture Website or the Polish Culture SITE MAP, which includes all articles classified according to topic. See other articles about Easter in Poland including Easter food and traditions. Also of interest are the articles about Pagan Traditions of Spring