10 Apr, 2009
Easter in Poland – polish your Polish, part 13
Posted by: Michał In: polish your Polish
I don’t know how it happened, but Easter is already here. It’s time then for another mix of Polish Easter phrases and traditions.
Easter in Polish is
which is obviously the most important holiday in the Christian calendar, and in a deeply Catholic country like Poland, it comes with a whole set of traditions and customs. And phrases.
Although surprisingly, there’s no separate phrase for Happy Easter in Polish, which is the same as, er, Happy Christmas:
which you may remember from my December post.
I’m writing this post on Good Friday
which, unlike in Britain, is not a bank holiday in Poland. The main two Easter days are:
Easter Sunday and
Easter Monday, which in fact is more commonly known as either
Lany Poniedziałek literally means ‘watered (wet) Monday’. Strange phrase, I know, but let me explain. On this day women were traditionally, shall we say, sprinkled with water (the extend of that ‘sprinkling’ varies from really subtle to really heavy-handed). It’s an old pagan tradition, which is closely connected with spring and the promise of a new life. But there are numerous other interpretations of this custom, all based around the meaning of water for life.
Śmigus-dyngus (as it’s also known) is still practised all over the country, with some local variations, but unfortunately in some bigger towns it’s a perfect excuse for groups of unruly teenagers to throw buckets of cold water at anyone really.
Another very typical (although not exclusively Polish) tradition is
painted Easter eggs. Pisanka (singular) is a must-have on the Polish Easter table. They are made before Easter and eaten on Easter Sunday. Depending on the technique used to paint them (wax, dye, etc.) they may have different names, but pisanki/pisanka is the most commonly used term.
I wonder whether Lany Poniedziałek is nowadays practised in The UK too. Anyone?
Image of pisanki © Jarosław Pocztarski via Flickr, used under CC licence