Each year the Easter holidays commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ for the well-being of us all. It is among the main festivals for the Christianity and is celebrated as a day of hope and new life. During the Holy Easter week celebrations, people go on many church services and various festivities. In general, the Easter celebrations are similar in all European countries, though there are some things that vary from one place to the other when traditions and regional practices are concerned. In general, Poland is among the most religious nations in Europe and thus for Easter there are many rituals that are made by the Christian church. The country has a rich cultural heritage and this heritage is reflected in the special celebrations for Easter that are influenced by the Polish culture. Of course, there are many regular Easter rituals that are followed in Poland and in the city of Krakow in particular, but there are also some special Polish rituals that are adding some difference to the holiday.
Among the unique traditions for Easter that are arranged in Poland is the so called blessing basket that is prepared on Saturday, just before the Easter Sunday. This basket is arranged with bread and eggs, with a nice cake and sausages, with salt, etc. and is then brought to the church in order the food to be blessed. Locals believe that the Great Lent is not over until the food in the basket is blessed. Another very important ritual is the special Easter Sunday breakfast with the family. People believe that they have to sit around a rich table and wish each other happiness and good luck, spending time with each other, telling stories. The table itself is beautifully decorated with green leaves and boiled eggs are served with salt and pepper. On the table are not served warm meals.
The other ritual of the people in Poland that is associated with Easter is the so called Smingus Dyngus and it is celebrated on the Easter Monday. This is a fun event, as boys go around the neighborhood and sprinkle girls with water or with perfume. This ritual goes back to some very old Polish pagan traditions that symbolized purification and cleansing of the body and the soul. There is yet another interesting ritual that is celebrated on Easter Monday and it goes under the name switching day. On that day boys switch girls with a willow branch. These special holidays and rituals are what makes the Easter holidays in Poland different. People also exchange small gifts, in order to express their love. Usually, the small children are the ones that get more gifts like and special Easter gift baskets with Easter bunny dolls, sweets and cookies, and Easter chocolate eggs, etc. Sometimes the kids are made to go on an Easter Egg hunt and they have great fun searching for nicely decorated Easter eggs, that as the saying goes are hidden by the Easter Bunny.