Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych!

Posted on 19. Apr, 2014 by in Calendar, Holidays, traditions

Easter (Wielkanoc) is traditionally is the most important Christian holiday, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Polish Easter’s original folk and religious character and it not changed much during the centuries, but due to the rich variety of many regional traditions in Poland, some published information might be little different.

Easter observances in Poland actually begin on Ash Wednesday, when pussywillows called in polish “bazie” or “kotki” are cut and placed in the water. These pussywillow twigs are used later on Palm Sunday (“Palmowa Niedziela”) as “palms” to be blessed in the church. Holy Week (Wielki Tydzień) begins on Palm Sunday, which is a commemoration of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.

  • Ash Wednesday / Środa Popielcowa

    The Polish Easter celebrations, beginning with Ash Wednesday. Most of the Poles try to go to the church for the mass, where priests mark their heads with a cross of ashes while saying: “Remember, man thou art dust and to dust thou shall return”. (Z prochu powstałeś i w proch sie obrócisz)

  • Lent / Wielki Post

    For Polish Catholics, Lent is the most reflective spiritual season. During this time people are fasting, going to the confession, praying and visiting the specially decorated churches to see “Our Lord’s Grave”. Each parish strives to come up with the most artistically and religiously evocate arrangement in which the Blessed Sacrament, draped in a filmy veil, is prominently displayed. During the Lent most of the people do not eat meat on Fridays.

  • Palm Sunday / Niedziela Palmowa

    On this day people bring the pusssywillow branches or other custom made wild flowers bouquets instead of palms to the church for the blessing. Some older folks say that swallowing one of the buds from the pussywillows branch will ensure health all year. Parishioners processed with the palms through the streets around the parish, celebrating the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.


  • Holly Saturday, Food Blesing/ŚwięconkaDLOBI

    On Saturday people take to churches decorated baskets (Swieconka) containing a sampling of traditional food to be blessed. Swieconka is very popular Polish tradition (see below). Also this day typically Polish ceremonies are performed in the church yard. It is the blessing of the fire, the reverence which goes back to pagan times.

    Food Blessing / Święconka

    Święconka is one of the most enduring and beloved Polish traditions. On Saturday people take to churches decorated baskets containing a sampling of traditional food to be blessed: hard-boiled eggs, ham, sausage, salt, pepper, horseradish, fruits, bread and cake. Prominently displayed among these is the Easter lamb, usually molded from butter and colorful pisanki.

    Common foods brought for blessing include: eggs, bread, butter, salt,pepper, horseradish, ham, and sausage.

    The food blessed in the church remains untouched until Sunday morning.

    Eggs / Pisanki, Kraszanki, Malowanki, Drapanki, Wyklejanki, Nalepianki

    The custom of coloring eggs for Easter is still observed in Polish custom. The eggs are decorated with many traditional Polish symbols of Easter. Most popular are lamb, cross, floral designs or Easter’s greetings such as Wesołego Alleluja. The eggs decorated with the use of treated wax are called “pisanki”. Another technique involved gluing colored paper or shiny fabric on them. The eggs which are painted in one color are called “malowanki” or “kraszanki”. If patterns are etched with a pointed instrument on top of the paint, the eggs are then called “skrobanki” or “rysowanki”.

  • Easter Sunday / Wielka Niedziela20854184

    On Easter morning, a special Resurrection Mass is celebrated in every church in Poland. At this Mass, a procession of priests, altar boys and the people circles the church three times while the church bells peal and the organ is played for the first time since they had been silenced on Good Friday. Following the Mass, people return home to eat the food blessed the day before.

    The Easter table will be covered with a white tablecloth. On the middle of the table in most homes housewife will put colored eggs, cold meats, coils of sausages, ham, yeast cakes, pound cakes, poppy-seed cakes, and a lamb made of sugar. Polish Easter Soup called Żurek or White Barszcz is often served at the Easter meal, garnished with the hard-boiled eggs and sausage. There is also tradition to share blassed eggs with the members of the family and wish each other good health, happiness for the rest of the year.

  • Wet Monday / Lany Poniedzialek

    Monday (just after aster) is a holiday in Poland and is called in polish “Lany Poniedzialek” or “Śmingus- Dyngus”. This is a wonderful day of fun. The ancient Polish tradition on Easter Monday, is celebrated by everyone with enthusiasm by sprinkling each other with water. Especially kids have fun this day. Some people say that by being splashed with water on Easter Monday will bring you good luck throughout the year.

Happy Easter! Have a wonderful Day! Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych!

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

Today/Dzisiaj widzę świat w różowych kolorach:))))

Posted on 13. Apr, 2014 by in Grammar, Phrases

If I said to you, “She’s pulling my leg”, you wouldn’t immediately think a female companion of mine was tugging on my limbs, or, if before a particularly testing encounter, I wished you would “break a leg”, that I was being unnecessarily and uncharacteristically (I promise) malicious. That’s because we are speaking in idioms, short phrasal combinations of words that, over time, have gained a figurative meaning in English, and there is no shortage of them in Polish either.

Just like English, Polish idioms have evolved to have their own meaning, and while many of these reflect the meaning of an English idiom, and many even sound the same, there are also a whole host of unique and new idioms in the Polish language. Not only can they be great fun to learn, but using them can give your speaking a real twist that will impress the native speaker no end. In fact, language teachers often use idioms as an indicator of an advanced language level in their students.

Below are a list of common (and some not so common) Polish idioms, their literal translations (in []), their closest English counterpart (if there is one!), and, if it might be needed, a hint towards their meaning.

Jak sobie pościelisz, tak się wyśpisz. [The way you made your bed is the way you will sleep in it] (You made your bed now lie in it, you reap what you sew).


Nudne jak flaki z olejem. [Dull as tripe in oil] (Dull as dishwater): Meaning something is extremely boring.

Jasne jak słońce. [Clear as the sun] (In English we could say either ‘Clear as day’ or ‘crystal clear’).

Kopnąć w kalendarz. [Kick the calendar] (Kick the bucket).

Jest to cnota i cnotami trzymać język za zębami. [The best virtue among all virtues is to keep one’s tongue behind one’s teeth] (Silence is golden).

Darowanemu koniowi w zęby się nie zagląda [Don’t check the teeth of a horse you received as a gift] (Don’t look a gifted horse in the mouth; be happy, no matter what your gift was).


Zrobili mnie w konia [I was made into a horse] (I was taken for a ride)

Zimny jak głaz. [As cold as stone] (As cold as a cucumber)

Złej baletnicy przeszkadza rąbek u spódnicy. [A bad ballerina blames the hem of her skirt] (A bad workman always blames his tools)

Nie wywołuj wilka z lasu. [Do not call the wolf from the forest] (Let sleeping dogs lie)

Widzieć świat w różowych okularach. [See everything in bright colours] (Always look on the bright side of life)

Tonący brzytwy się chwyta. [A drowning man clutches at a cut-throat razor] (The drowning man clutches at straws)


Porywać się z motyką na słońce. [To jump at the sun with a hoe] (To bite off more than you can chew)

Raz na Ruski rok. [Once in a Russian year] (Once in a blue moon, or once in a while)

It is all very well learning these by heart, but it’s also important to understand where and when they are appropriate. Imagine using an idiom like ‘kick the bucket’ during a funeral speech in English; it definitely wouldn’t go down too well.

One good way I have found to practice these with close Polish speaking friends, who, when you say something out of place or inappropriate, will usually find the whole thing fantastically amusing.

What is your favorite idiom? We can see if there is possibly one that people like the most? Share it with us in comments below!

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

“Palace Stairs” back in Poland!

Posted on 05. Apr, 2014 by in Arts, History

Today a little bit of current Polish news! Another work of art returns to its rightful owner!Thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego), a valuable Francesco Guardi painting looted during World War II has been safely returned to the National Museum in Warsaw.

schody_palacowe_guardiegoWe all know this is just a fraction of Poland’s war-time art losses. It is estimated that during WW II Poland lost about half a million works of art and that has successfully restituted several dozen in the last few years.

The painting titled “The Courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale with the Scala Dei Giganti, seen through the Arco Foscari” (Dziedziniec Pałacu Dożów z Scala Dei Giganti, postrzegane przez Arco Foscari) known as ‘Palace stairs’ (Schody pałacowe) was looted from the National Museum in Warsaw in 1939.

The painting was previously on display in the National Gallery in Stuttgart. On 31st March 2014, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski received the painting from his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in Berlin.

From 1949, Francesco Guardi’s painting was mentioned in Ministry publications presenting cultural goods exported from Poland between 1939-45. It was registered in the database of objects lost to plundering in WWII maintained by the Ministry of Culture .

In 2010, the Department of Cultural Heritage at the Ministry of Culture prepared a restitution request, which was filed by the National Museum in Warsaw – the pre-war owner of the image.

Francesco Guardi’s Palace Stairs is an oil painting measuring 32.8 x 25.8cm. On 13th March, 1925 it was bought by the National Museum in Warsaw from Leon Kranc, a collector. Until the outbreak of World War II, the work was exhibited in the museum building at 15 Podwale Street. In the summer of 1939, in the face of impending war, the painting was hidden in the basement of the Museum. Shortly after the occupation of Warsaw, German forces began systematically requisitioning and exporting cultural goods.

Based on documents found in the German archives, the painting was transferred to the cultural goods repository in Wiesbaden on 24th December, 1945, and then to the Central Collecting Point in Munich. Later on, the canvas went to the University of Heidelberg as an object of unknown origin. In 1980, Palace Stairs was deposited in the Kurpfalzsche Museum in Heidelberg, and then to the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, where it remained until recently.

The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage maintains the national database of war losses, which now includes nearly 63 thousand paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. The list include works by artists such as Rubens, Rembrant, Durer, Wyspiański and Matejko.

To this day, thanks to the efforts of the Ministry, 26 objects have been returned to Poland, including Aleksander Gierymski’s “Żydówka z pomarańczami”, and Julian Fałat’s “Przed Polowaniem w Rytwianach” and “Naganka na polowaniu w Naświeżu”, among others.

The Ministry is currently working to regain 46 objects.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)