Easter is one of the major Christian festivals celebrated in order to commemorate the holy resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. This festival is celebrated as the holy day of hope and auspiciousness in all the countries where the people of Christian community reside. This festival is generally marked with extensive church service and festivities. Though the celebration of Easter is more or less the same in every country, a little difference can be observed in regional practices and traditions.
Like the other central-European nations, Easter is a prominent festival in Poland also. The rich cultural heritage of Poland is reflected in the Eastertide celebrations. While religious ceremonies follow the rituals of the Christian church, Easter celebrations have imbibed elements of native Polish culture. There are several such traditions that seem to be the confluence of the polish and Christian culture. Therefore apart from some regular Easter rituals, there are certain Polish rituals which make Easter celebrations, a little different in the country.
The "blessing basket" is one of the unique Easter traditions in Poland. The blessing basket is prepared the Saturday before Easter Sunday. The basket, stashed with colored eggs, bread, cake, salt, paper and white colored sausages, is taken to the church to have it blessed. This tradition stems from the belief that the Great Lent, which is the forty day fast before Easter, is not over until the basket has been blessed. Hence it is called the Blessing Basket. It is considered to be sanctified and auspicious.
The family breakfast on Easter Sunday morning is an important part of Polish Easter celebration. On the breakfast table, each of the participants wishes the others of the family good luck and happiness. The table is decorated with green leaves and a sugar lamb may be placed as a centre-piece. As no smoke is allowed, no warm meals were served. Sharing a boiled egg with one’s relatives is a national tradition of Poland on Easter breakfast table. A piece of egg with salt and pepper, sanctified by priest, is a vital item on this occasion.
Another traditional ritual is Dyngus or Smingus Dyngus, celebrated on the first Monday after Easter. On this day boys roam around the neighborhood to sprinkle girls with water or perfume. This custom of watering has its roots in pagan traditions since the pouring of water is an ancient spring symbol of cleansing and purification. Easter Monday has also been celebrated as "Switching Day" because on this day boys switch girls with a small willow branch. So, apart from the regular Easter norms, the special rituals of Easter make it unique in Poland.