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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Poland, Lesson 21 - St. Dominic's Fair
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 21. St. Dominic's Fair. In Polish, it’s called Jarmark Dominikański.
In this lesson, we will discuss an unusual event that has been taking place every year for over 750 years and which takes us on a journey in time all the way back to the Middle Ages, or średniowiecze. It’s one of the largest outdoor events in Poland and in Europe, taking place in Gdańsk. It’s called St. Dominic’s Fair.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
In ancient times, who honored the participants of Dominic’s Fair with their presence?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The first St. Dominic’s Fair was established at the request of the Dominican Order in 1260 and was designed to attract people to attend a special type of mass celebrated on August 4. Initially it was a small party, or przyjęcie, which soon turned into a big market. As the fair expanded with each passing year, it simultaneously departed further from its origins. For the duration of the fair, merchant ships from many countries sailed into Gdańsk.
Today, St. Dominic’s Fair takes place in many Polish cities, the most famous and largest of which is still held in Gdańsk. It attracts tourists from all over Poland, as well as abroad. Each year, during the three weeks it takes place in August, the fair is visited by approximately six million people. The highest recorded number of visitors was in 2007, when 8.5 million people attended.
Every year, visitors have the opportunity to admire products and make purchases at over a thousand stalls. Among these stalls, one can find antiques, arts and craft products, and handicrafts. Fans of coin and stamp collecting, and collectors of all kinds can always be sure to find something! There are also many stands featuring confectionery and baked goods, where visitors have the opportunity to try regional dishes from across Poland, as well as so-called peasant cuisine, in Polish called kuchnia wiejska. The essential element of this type of cuisine is a slice of bread with lard and pickled cucumber.
During Dominic’s Fair, free concerts of popular music, including folk, classical, alternative, jazz, and many other genres take place as well. There are also plenty of parades, craft shows, and outdoor stages. In other words, everyone will find something to suit their interest.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
In ancient times, who honored the participants of Dominic’s Fair with their presence?
Back then, the event was so large and important for the city that the nobility and even the king would attend.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
If you go to Poland in the summer, would you like to visit Gdanisk and see Dominic’s Fair?
Leave us a comment telling us at PolishPod101.com!
See you next time!