Polish Easter Traditions

Like the Greeks, Polish Easter traditions closely mimic those found back in Poland. Patryk Perkowski, a Macaulay Honors student at Queens College, and Monica Dluzniewski, freshman at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, shared their sacred celebration of this holiday. 

The Rev. Mike Paraniuk blesses Easter baskets Saturday in a traditional Polish Easter service, the Swieconka ceremony, at Annunciation Church in Clifton. Photo: Jeff Swinger photo

During the Lenten season, Ms. Dluzniewski states that she and her family must abstain from meat on every Friday, starting with Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday. It is also important for Polish people to attend confession to get absolved of their sins before Holy Week. According to Polskiinternet.com, “For Polish Catholics, Lent is the most reflective spiritual season. During this time people are fasting [and] going to the confession…During the Lent most of the people do not eat meat on Fridays.” 1


Once Holy Week starts, the Easter food preparation starts. Ms. Dluzniewski states, “You prepare a variety of meals. There’s a Polish soup called Zurek (white borscht in english), white kielbasa, jajka faszerowane (stuffed hard cooked eggs), veal, kotlety, salatka jarzynowa (Polish vegetable salad with leggs, apples, carrots, cucumbers, mayo, and mustard), kielbasa, babka (a type of cake), eggs, and different homemade meats.”

Mass plays and integral part in a Polish Easter. They attend mass on Holy Thursday, Holy Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. On Holy Saturday, it is custom to get a basket full of food blessed. Mr. Perkowski states, “On Saturday, we go to church for a quick

A Traditional Polish Easter Basket for Blessing

service to bless our baskets. Each basket should have: babka, butter, eggs, polish sausage, bread, a lamb statue made out of sugar, salt and pepper, and ham. The baskets are usually decorated with colorful laces and have little chicks inside with green twigs on the sides. In my parish, there are services every 30 minutes throughout Holy Saturday. It’s tradition that you don’t eat before going to church that day and when you get home, you have a meal based on the things you have had blessed.” The Polish website states the exact same tradition takes place in Poland every Easter season.

On Easter Sunday, the religious ceremonies continue. Ms. Dluzniewski states, “My family and I usually go to the Resurrection mass which is at 6:00am. There’s a procession around the block with bells ringing and additional fanfare.” Back in Poland there is a similar mass. The Polish website states, “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.”

Following mass, the Perkowski and Dluzniewski families gather at a relative’s house for a day full of feasting and celebration. Ms. Dluzniewski says that the dinner meal mainly consists of meat due to the previous days of fasting. Mr. Perkowski adds that there is also, “lots and lots of drinking.”

Patryk Perkowski and His Family on Easter Sunday

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  1. “Easter/Polish Traditions.” <http://www.polskiinternet.com/english/info/easter.html>.

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