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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Poland, Lesson 19 - Corpus Christi
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Poland Series at PolishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Polish holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 19. Corpus Christi. In Polish, it’s called Boże Ciało.
In this lesson we will discuss one of the most solemn Catholic holidays observed in Poland, Corpus Christi. This is a moving holiday, falling on the Thursday that comes sixty days after Easter. In 2014 it fell on June 19, in 2015 it will be on June 4, in 2016 on May 26, and in 2017 on June 15.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Body of Christ is the common name, but what is the full name of this holiday?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
In Poland, the celebration of Corpus Christi took place for the first time in 1320. In 1420 it was considered a long-practiced, customary tradition and was celebrated in all the churches, or kościół, in Poland. This is a so-called holiday of obligation, which means that the faithful are obliged to participate in the holy mass, in Polish called msza święta.
The main aim of the Corpus Christi celebration is to honor the Blessed Sacrament. The first processions took place in Germany in the thirteenth century, during which a cross, or krzyż, with the Blessed Sacrament was carried. Until the fifteenth century, this tradition spread throughout Europe, reaching Poland in 1320. Nowadays, representatives of the Church lead the procession, in contrast to ancient times, in which only the king and the most important public officials were involved. The procession stops at four altars, or ołtarz, where excerpts from the gospel are read.
Outside of Church traditions, there are also many folk traditions associated with Corpus Christi. One of them is the weaving of garlands, or girlandy, from wild herbs, which are later used to decorate the church and altars along the path of the procession. The consecrated herbs are then dried and stored for a long time, to protect against disease and other kinds of misfortune. Garlands were also burned in domestic stoves as people believed in the cleansing power of smoke.
Another symbol is the bread, which has always held a very important position in folk culture, and was meant to be handled with respect. In fact, a number of traditions surround this bread, professing its sanctity. For example, no one is permitted to touch the bread with dirty hands, consume it while wearing a head-dress, play with it, turn it upside down or tap it with a knife.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Body of Christ is the common name, but what is the full name of this holiday?
The full name of Corpus Christi is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ or the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. It commemorates the last supper and the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Does your country also celebrate the commemoration of the last supper?
Leave us a comment telling us at PolishPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!