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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 6 - Palm Sunday. In Polish, it’s called Niedziela Palmowa.
In this lesson, we'll talk about Palm Sunday, which falls on the seventh day before Easter, and as the name indicates, is always on a Sunday. It is a very interesting day that involves a lot of traditions, especially ones from the Christian Church. Due to its religious nature, not everyone celebrates this day. Palm Sunday has been celebrated in Poland since the Middle Ages, in Polish called średniowiecze, and commemorates the arrival of Jesus to Jerusalem.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
What happens to the blessed palms after Palm Sunday?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The symbol of Palm Sunday is the Easter palm or palma wielkanocna, which many Poles buy, regardless of religious affiliation, as a decoration associated with Easter. Those who value church traditions will go to church that day to get their palms blessed by a priest. They symbolize the branches of a palm tree, which were thrown at Jesus’s feet when he arrived in Jerusalem. These days, the palm trees are made exclusively from natural materials such as willow branches, boxwood, catkins, dried flowers, and tissue paper.
Another Polish tradition is the procession with the so-called Palm Jesus or Jezusek Palmowy. This is a wooden statue depicting Jesus on the back of a donkey. According to history, this is how Jesus rode into Jerusalem. The custom of pulling the statue on a base with wheels with the crowd of the faithful following behind it, was common in Poland up until the eighteenth century. Later, as the solemn ceremony changed over time into a loud party, it was banned by the Church authorities. To this day, it has survived only in a few places, one of which is Tokarnia in Małopolska, meaning Lesser Poland.
Another traditional element of the celebration of Palm Sunday are the pucheroki. This custom was established in Cracow and eventually spread to nearby villages. Boys wear a sheepskin jacket, known as kożuch, with the fur inside out and with soot smeared on their faces, wandering from house to house reciting poetry and singing happy songs, for which they are meant to be rewarded with eggs, butter or cheese. In the past they wore tall straw hats on their heads, but these days hats made of colored tissue paper are more common. Also, the reward these days is usually sweets or small change.
Easter palms are by far the most typical feature of Palm Sunday. In the village of Lipnica Murowana, in Lesser Poland, a contest, or konkurs, for the best Easter palm has been held since 1958. Local Easter palms surprise many with their beauty and size; the largest made to date was 35 meters tall and 10 centimeters long.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What happens to the blessed palms after Palm Sunday?
On Holy Saturday, the day preceding Easter, all the blessed palms are burned, and their ashes are kept by the church until the next year. These are then used during Środa Popielcowa, meaning Ash Wednesday, when the priest sprinkles the heads of the faithful with them.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have Easter palms in your country as well?
Leave us a comment telling us at PolishPod101.com!
See you next time!