Easter Saturday in Poland

Easter Saturday in Poland is a busy day. Every Polish family visits a church with a basket full of food products (a piece of bread, salt, sausage, egg - usually painted etc). Especially children love it! The baskets are then blessed by a priest. Read more about Easter Food Blessing - an ancient Polish custom.

Another important ceremony on Easter Saturday are visitats through the churches to see Jesus Tombs. Every church has a uniquely decorated empty tomb. Below is the account of Jerzy from food blessing ceremony in Krakow.

Food Blessing ceremony in Krakow on Holy Saturday & Visiting Jesus Tomb

We went to the church carrying a basket full of food and coloured eggs and ornamented with pussy willows and anything else which is already growing green

Practically everybody who goes out in the street carries a basket. Young and old, rich and poor. People without baskets are an exception. The tradition holds firm, I even saw a group of teenagers who looked like football fans to me and each of them was carrying a basket.

Our church has a shape which resembles a crown. Probably it suggests the crown for God`s Mother, the Queen of Poland. The church is named Ostrobramska God`s Mother Church.

People come to church and wait for the priest to finish blessing the previous load of baskets and begin next one. When the priest is young and enthusiastically dutiful, it can take a while....

At last! People put their baskets on the table, gather around and the priest begins the ceremony.

While blessing, the priest uses a device which looks like a broom with a short handle. He dips it in a bowl of holy water and then sprinkles the baskets. This priest was humorous and he also sprinkled people around, claiming it was in advance before Wet Monday. The people who were sprinkled as first got a veritable shower......

After the blessing, people try to find their baskets on a long, long table....

Churches are decorated with 3d pictures ("Where is your faith?").... It`s 3d because the bars and the red robe are real, the rest is painted:

and replicas of Jesus` grave ("Come to me all"). Two youngsters standing to attention in front of it are a boy-scout and a girl-guide, but do not ask me why it is so.....

The grave, which had a figure of Jesus on Saturday, is empty on Sunday and Monday:

very funny thing, when I took a picture of the grave on Saturday that girl(woman) was kneeling in the confessional. I thought she was real and even was surprised that confession was held so close to the decorations. On Sunday mass I saw the mannekin again. My wife and other people had been fooled too. The priests in our church are really humorous guys.

When the weather is fine, after the blessing families go for a walk. We went to a playground.

by Jerzy from Krakow, April 2006

Check Polish Spring and Easter rituals read about Pisanki: An Ancient Art of Hope and Life
and the selection of Easter articles.


I recommend

Song, Dance, and Customs of Peasant Poland, by Sula Benet

The Polish Heritage Songbook,by Marek Sart, Szymon Kobylinski

a wonderful book about Polish customs written by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab, Mary Anne Knab (Illustrator). It is entitled Polish Customs, Traditions and Folklore

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