Easter traditions in Poland

Easter Triduum

The whole week before Easter is very special. Every houshold should get a major spring cleaning before this week starts and be done by Great Thursday the latest.

Great Thursday

Celebration of the Last Supper, Passover. The only one joyful day during the week. Service at the church.

Great Friday

Day of fasting. At 3pm you should stop everything and pray.

Service of the Stations of the cross in the church:


Remembering His suffering:

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus receives the cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time
  4. Jesus meets His Mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
  6. Veronica wipes Jesus’ face with her veil
  7. Jesus falls the second time
  8. Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls the third time
  10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
  11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. Jesus’ body is removed from the cross (Pieta)
  14. Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense.

Afterwords there is usually cross adoration. People are meditating upon the passion of Christ in silence.

Great Saturday

Dyeing eggs (pisanki). Since the 10th century we make pisanki in Poland for Easter. They symbolize new life.

ale jaja by hsi_nao

This is how your pisanki will look if you boil them with the yellow onion pills. Just throw some to the water while you boil eggs, they get this golden-yellow-brown color. The more the pills, the stronger color.

    ja-ja-ja    ;) by KASIACZEK

The other way of naturally dyeing you eggs is to boil them with the beet roots pills. You get burgundy color as a result.

These below are made by first dyeing them with the natural dies and then scratching off with a special sharp tool (actually a thick needle will do)

Polish eggs by abac077    pisanki-lowickie.jpg pisanki.jpg  our own pisanki

Preparing Easter basket (swieconka).

After pisanki are done, we prepare swieconka (click to read an explanation of the symbolism of different foods), which is Polish Easter basket.

We take swieconka to the church to be blessed:

2007-04-07_15-Krakow.jpg by ilvic

Saturday midnight. Celebration of resurrection. Liturgy of fire starts outside the church. Joyful Hallelujah. Procession around the church.


The paschal candle has five nails (for five wounds on Jesus’ body) and letters alpha & omega. It symbolizes Christ, light of the world.

Paschal Candle by Danny McL

Easter Sunday

Sunday morning. Instead of Good Morning you should say: Christ has risen! And the response is: He has truly risen!

Easter breakfast includes food from swieconka. We share the eggs (like breaking bread) and say wishes to each other. We pray.

The tablecloth is white, symbol of resurrection. It might be decorated with the first spring flowers. There should be a lamb, symbolizing Christ. The whole family eats together. It is a very special time.

2007-04-08_2-Pasen2007.jpg by ilvic  

Special cakes called mazurek (Easter pies):

Mazurki by rodia 

   mazurkowe szaleństwo by mimiczoko  

Easter Monday (Wet Monday)

Smigus dyngus (dousing other people with water which, at one time, had been holy water blessed the day before at Easter Sunday Mass and carried home to bless the house and food). Basically you get wet if you go outside.

This is it. No more for today. Send me your family/country traditional Christian celebrations about Easter.



4 thoughts on “Easter traditions in Poland

  1. Iwona, I love the photos–thank you for sharing about the Polish traditions. Can you tell me more about the foods on the table for Easter lunch/supper? What is the salad-soup looking thing with cucumbers on top? What kind of greens are those on top of the sweet bread? What is the little bowl of greens in the middle–sprouts?

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