Polish Easter Monday Posted by on Apr 11, 2009 in Culture

So, Easter day is almost here. And before you start celebrating (if you do Easter), here are a few things to remember about Wielkanoc in Poland:

1. It’s a two-day holiday and people go to church on both days.
2. Food is a major Easter feature (but I guess the same can be said about all Polish celebrations) and you just can’t have this occasion without eggs. That’s one constant throughout the country, because when it comes to other foods on your Easter table, they can vary according to the region. In some parts of Poland people enjoy this awful duck blood soup (czernina). I know it can be made with other kinds of blood but my great-aunt used to make it with duck blood). In some regions of the country, people will eat rabbit, but in others they might prefer lamb. In my family, it was just “meat” and I’m not really sure what it used to be when it was alive. I didn’t like the taste either way.

3. You can’t have Easter without babka wielkanocna (Easter cake) and those can also vary depending on the region. Of course, if you’re not a fan of babka (and I’m not), there’s plenty of other cakes to choose from. My personal favorite is makowiec (poppy seed roll) the way my grandma used to make it. Yum!!! (Please, no goofy jokes about poppy seeds here, I am fully aware that makowiec is off limits in many places in the world – Singapore and Dubai immediately come to mind).

4. And then you have Easter Monday, known in Poland as Śmingus Dyngus. This is basically an officially  sanctioned occasion to pour copious amounts of cold water on people you know, and on some you don’t know. I hate it. This is one Polish tradition that I haven’t told my foreign family about. And I hope they’ll stay unaware of it for as long as possible.

So, enjoy your holidays! And mokrego dyngusa!!! Get out your water guns and have fun!

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  1. Mchl:

    Re 4. As far as I know, the correct name is Śmigus-dyngus, although ‘Śmingus’ is pretty common.
    ‘Śmigus’ comes from old Slavic tradition of whipping legs with willow twigs.

    In the region where my grand-mother lives, ‘copious amounts of cold water’ are reserved for men, kids and unmarried women. Married women get sprinkled with perfume. Not that bad I guess 😉

  2. spongebob:

    How do you change polish verbs from the infinitive to the imperative?
    I would like to write some instrucitons in Polish and would like to be able to convert the verbs myself. Thanks.

    kliknąć becomes Kliknij
    myć becomes myj
    nacisnąć becomes naciśnij

  3. spongebob:

    Co myślisz o bitwa na poduszki Kraków?!

    I think polish people love having fun! this is good.

  4. thomas westcott:


    You forgot to mention the ever popular ” Barszcz
    ( czerwony ) ” with boiled eggs.

    And speaking of cake; most Polish deserts are way to dry for my taste. And some, such as a wedding cake, are way to sweet.

    Out of politeness, I will eat a small amount of desert at my brother-in-law’s home. I do know enough about Polish hospitality to try not to offend by refusing. I do appreciate the care and work it takes to prepare some dishes ( here I mean food items not china 🙂 ).

    Upon reading today’s blog, I realize that I Have heard of ‘smingus dingus’ before ( misspelling is deliberate as that is how I remember the sounds in English ) 🙂 Anyway, I now know what that refers to, so thanks for improving my understanding of Polish customs.

  5. spongebob:

    Co myślisz o bitwa na poduszki Kraków?!

    I think polish people love having fun! this is good.

    Website: “Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!”

    Sponge Bob: I did but that comment is still awaiting moderation!


  6. alecsa:

    which day is polish easter?..4th april or 11 april?..please tell me..:)

    • Anna:

      @alecsa Alecsa,
      it’s on April 4th and 5th.