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Lesson Transcript

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 23. The Great Dragon Parade. In Polish, it’s called Wielka Parada Smoków.
In this lesson, we’ll talk about the next big event that occurs in the historic center of Poland, the city of Cracow. It’s the Great Dragon Parade, which has been held every year since 2000. Why in Cracow? Why the dragons? The answers to these questions can be found in a very old legend about a Wawel Dragon, whose story is known to Poles of all ages.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Among the many attractions of this event, there’s a competition for "The Dragon's Egg". Can you guess what the competition involves?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
According to legend, or legenda, an evil dragon, or smok, used to live in a cave under the king’s castle in Cracow and devour men. Many brave knights tried to kill the dragon, but each failed in his endeavor. Finally a shoemaker, or szewc, named Skuba used a cunning trick. He decided to give the dragon a sheepskin stuffed with sulfur and tar. As soon as the creature swallowed it, its stomach flared up. The dragon rushed down to the Vistula river to quench the fire tearing apart his insides, where he drank so much that he exploded. This is the genesis of the idea of the Great Dragon Parade.
The event is organized by Cracow’s Grotesque Theater, on the first weekend of June. Every year it is celebrated under a different theme. For example, in 2013 the theme was the culture of Lesser Poland; in 2012 the culture of countries neighboring Poland; and the event of 2011 was inspired by Nordic motifs. Throughout the two days the festival is held, a Dragon Family Picnic is held on the Vistula Boulevards near the Dragon's Cave, or Smocza Jama, which is said to have once been inhabited by the Wawel dragon. During the picnic festival, chivalrous tournaments, competitions, and concerts take place.
Another regular element is the Great Parade of Dragons, Knights and Ladies-in-waiting, in which kindergartens, schools and community centers participate. More than a thousand children pass through the streets of the old town in historical costumes, presenting handcrafted dragons. These dragons compete with each other in the Most Beautiful Dragon of the Parade contest.
During the event there’s also a Great Outdoor Show on the Vistula River, where floating and flying dragons of up to 25 meters in length and 15 meters in height are presented together with a fireworks show.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Among the many attractions of this event, there’s a competition for "The Dragon's Egg". Can you guess what the competition involves?
The competition for The Dragon's Egg award takes the form of an art review of amateur theater companies, which are selected from applications submitted before the festival. Professional artists also take part in performances at the foot of Wawel.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do any legends come to life for a few days in your country, as they do with the Polish dragon festival?
Leave us your comment letting us know at PolishPod101.com!
See you next time!