Traditional Polish Easter Cuisine

Easter holiday is one of the most important in Poland. Easter meals are deeply symbolic so Easter food plays a very special role in the celebrations. On the Holy Saturday people rush to churches with ‘święconka’ (baskets with symbolic food to be blessed) which contains sampling of Easter foods:

  • eggs – symbolise life and Christ’s resurrection
  • bread – symbolic of Jesus
  • lamb – represents Christ
  • salt – represents purification
  • horseradish – symbolic of the bitter sacrifice of Christ
  • ham – symbolic of great joy and abundance

The basket is traditionally lined with a white linen or lace napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood, the typical Easter evergreen. The food blessed in the church remains untouched according to local traditions until either Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.

Easter breakfast includes the foods blessed on Easter Saturday as well as other traditional Easter foods and is typically a family-oriented occasion. Hard boiled eggs and cold meats like sausage often make up the Polish Easter breakfast. Zurek soup (The sour rye soup) served with boiled eggs halves and sausage is a must as well as Polish Easter Babka (slightly sweet Polish cake with raisins) for dessert.

The table is usually decorated with coloured hard boiled eggs called ‘pisanki’. The word pisanka is derived from the verb ‘pisać’ which in contemporary Polish means exclusively ‘to write’ yet in old Polish meant also ‘to paint’. Originating as a pagan tradition, pisanki were absorbed by Christianity to become the traditional Easter egg. Pisanki are now considered to symbolise the revival of nature and the hope that Christians gain from faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

Guiding 50 Cent in Warsaw…

On April 2nd – Curtis James Jackson III – iconic American rapper better known as 50 Cent arrived in Warsaw, Poland to promote his SMS AUDIO™ headphones.  Thanks to On Board Public Relations I had a pleasure to guide him in Warsaw on the second day of his visit.

He preferred to call him “Fifty” and was a very nice person. We walked in the Old Town of Warsaw and saw the panoramic view of the city from the top of the Palace of Culture and Science…

Thanks Fifty 🙂

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All photos by SMS Audio Poland & On Board Public Relations

Winter Evening of Light in Łazienki Royal Park

On March 1, 2014 the Museum in Łazienki Royal Park has opened the event called “Gardens of Light” – an international project aimed at showcasing the world’s most spectacular historic gardens and museums. The five unique royal residences specially selected for the project are the Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw, Prince Pückler Park in Bad Muskau (Germany), Tsarskoye Selo Museum in Saint Petersburg (Russia), Prince Kung’s Mansion in Beijing (China) and Château de Lunéville in France.

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The main goal of the Gardens of Light is to communicate to the public the aesthetic visions of 18th and 19th century architecture and garden design with their focus on a seamless blend of nature and art and strong connections to scientific discoveries and philosophical thought of the period.

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The first event in 2014 was the Winter Evening of Light – an evening walk in the gardens, lit by lanterns. During the walk, the guests had an opportunity to admire picturesque garden illuminations.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Poland’s National Independence Day

National Independence Day is celebrated every year on 11 November to commemorate the anniversary of Poland’s resumption of independent statehood in 1918 after 123 years of partition by Russia, Prussia and Austria. The foundation of the Second Polish Republic is considered a key event by many Poles.

National Independence Day is the most important Polish national holiday. After years of partitions done by Austria, Prussia and Russia between 1772 and 1795, national uprisings (November Uprising of 1830 and January Uprising of 1863), struggles and efforts in various fields, Poles, owing to their steadfastness, patriotism and heroism, managed to regain their freedom. Józef Piłsudski, “First Marshal of Poland”, played an enormous role in Poland’s recovery of sovereignty.

The date of 11 November was announced a national holiday in 1937. Since 1939 to 1989, celebration of the holiday was forbidden. After the collapse of communist government, the holiday gained particular significance and it is now a red letter day.

Major celebrations, attended by Polish State authorities, are held in Warsaw at Piłsudski Square. Sharply at noon, a ceremonious change of guards takes place before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Some photos: courtesy of Jestem z Woli > http://www.facebook.com/Jestem.z.Woli

68. anniversarry of AK dissolution – Jan. 19, 1945

The Armia Krajowa or Home Army, was the dominant Polish resistance movement in World War II German-occupied Poland. Till 1944, it absorbed most other Polish underground forces. It was loyal to the Polish government in exile and constituted the armed wing of what became known as the “Polish Underground State.”

przysięga AK

Estimates of its membership in 1944 range from 200,000 to 600,000, with the most common number being 400,000; that figure would make it not only the largest Polish underground resistance movement but one of the three largest in Europe during World War II.

Warsaw mural with words "Because this is my city..."

Warsaw mural with words “Because this is my city…”

It was officially disbanded on 19 January 1945 to prevent a slide into armed conflict with the Red Army including an increasing threat of civil war over Poland’s sovereignty.

The fallen AK soldier at his barricade - Warsaw Insurgents' cemetery

The fallen AK soldier at his barricade – Warsaw Insurgents’ cemetery

However, many units decided to continue on their struggle under new circumstances, seeing the Soviet forces as new occupiers. The persecution of the AK members was only a part of the reign of Stalinist terror in postwar Poland. In the period of 1944–56, approximately 300,000 Polish people had been arrested, or up to two million, by different accounts. There were 6,000 death sentences issued, the majority of them carried out. Possibly, over 20,000 people died in communist prisons including those executed “in the majesty of the law” such as Witold Pilecki, a hero of Auschwitz. A further six million Polish citizens (i.e., one out of every three adult Poles) were classified as suspected members of a ‘reactionary or criminal element’ and subjected to investigation by state agencies.

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fot. Sabina Chyla

Festival of Light in Wilanów Palace Museum

Wilanów Palace (Polish: Pałac w Wilanowie) is a royal palace located in the Wilanów district, Warsaw.  It survived the time of Poland’s partitions and both World Wars and has preserved its authentic historical qualities, also is one of the most important monuments of  Polish culture.

The palace and park in Wilanów is not only a priceless testimony to the splendour of Poland in the past, but also a place for cultural events and concerts, including Summer Royal Concerts in the Rose Garden and the International Summer Early Music Academy. Since 2006, the palace has been a member of the international association of European Royal Residences.

fot. Sabina Chyla

fot. Sabina Chyla

Wilanów Palace was built for the Polish king John III Sobieski in the last quarter of the 17th century and later was enlarged by other owners. It represents the characteristic type of baroque suburban residence built entre cour et jardin (between the entrance court and the garden). Its architecture is original – a merger of European art with old Polish building traditions. Upon its elevations and in the palace interiors antique symbols glorify the Sobieski family, especially the military triumphs of the king.

fot. Sabina Chyla

fot. Sabina Chyla

This winter the Palace Museum hosts a special event – The Royal Festival of Light – Labyrinth of Light, and several hundred meters of spectacular illuminations of buildings – a view that waits for visitors around the palace and gardens in Wilanów.

fot. Sabina Chyla

fot. Sabina Chyla

Every day (till the end of March 2013) as soon as it gets dark, thousands of lamps are lit on the palace facade, collegiate St. Anna church, the main gate of the building and the adjacent townhall.

fot. Sabina Chyla

fot. Sabina Chyla

All photographs: courtesy of Sabina Chyla > http://websta.me/n/sabi.sabinachyla

In the garden, at the Palace Orangery, Labyrinth of Light lights up (an area of ​​800 sq. m) which is the highlight of the festival as well as the visual mapping on the facade of the palace and the church (see the film below).

Hanukkah at Grzybowski square in Warsaw

Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical Menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch. The extra light is called a shamash and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the shamash is to have a light available for use, as using the Hanukkah lights themselves is forbidden.

On December 8, 2012 the Jewish Community in Warsaw celebrated the beginning of Hanukkah. Grzybowski square located next to the Nożyk Synagogue and Warsaw Jewish community centre was the place of the ceremony for the second time. Before 2011 the Hanukiah was placed in front of the Palace of Culture and Science, nearby.

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Community of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Community of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Community of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Commuity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Community of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Community of Warsaw

Fall in Love with Warsaw on Christmas

This year Warsaw has changed its Christmas illumination for the brand new one ….it is taking us to the world of fairy tales, it’s colorful, magic and beautiful….

The entire Royal Route, The Old and New Town, and finally, the 27-metre high Christmas tree on the Castle Square, started to shine on Saturday – December, 1st.

This day at 16:00 hrs., on the Castle Square, the  live concert “The Great Illumination” took place. Like every year, it was an event filled with magical atmosphere and overwhelming emotions. The surprises held in store for that occasion amazed us throughout the evening, in anticipation of the climax which is the spectacular lighting of Warsaw’s Christmas tree.

Warsaw’s Christmas illumination will stay on until February 2.