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Once again, another holiday is upon us, this time it is the holiday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ… Easter! Easter Sunday is a day of great rejoicing; Christ has risen and all is once again right with the world.
We American-Poles look forward to this holiday with great expectations. We have fasted, attended our churches, and in general, mortified our bodies in order to prepare for this great day.
Holy Week is a busy one for the Polish American family, for there are many preparations to be made for the coming of Easter Sunday. There are eggs to color, baking to be done (babki are a must at our traditional Easter meal), kielbasa to be made or ordered, cheese to be prepared, chrzan to be grated. . .we can go on and on. Not to mention going out to shop and outfit the whole family in new finery.
The Holy Week usually begins with Holy Wednesday, which is the signal to pilgrimage to various churches for adoration. This pilgrimage continues on through Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. In the evening, vespers are attended and all join in singing the PIESNI POSTNE. On Wednesday evening the GORZKIE ZALE are sung and on Friday the DROGA KRZYZOWA is recited. Such songs as ZAL DUSZE SCISKA and LUDU MÓJ LUDU are sung by all of the participants. These are our people: our Poles from Europe, our Poles in America, and our American Poles born here.
Holy Saturday is for the blessing of the food. In the morning we go to church for Holy Water, and then in the afternoon our parents start preparing their baskets filled with Easter foods which will be blessed. In some parishes the custom still prevails where the priest comes to the home and blesses the food. In other parishes, the people prepare their baskets of food and take them to the church hall for the blessing. If one were to open the baskets, one would see such foods as ham, kielbasa, babki of all sizes, salt, butter made up in fancy designs, eggs and other goodies. The eggs of course are decorated and colored by the children the night before. The eggs are an array of beautiful colors and designs, not to mention names which are printed on them. These artistic eggs will be exchanged with the family and cousins, as they visit each other during the holidays, greeting each other with a Wesołego Alleluja!
Finally Easter Sunday arrives! The first Mass REZURECJA is said usually after midnight or at 6 a.m. The choir sings ALLELUJA! ALLELUJA! CHRIST HAS ARISEN! The swell of the voices of the choir causes ones’ heart to gladden with joy and anticipation. After the Masses are over, the families sit down to their traditional dinner, and before they start, the Holy Easter egg is passed around and each shares a piece with one another, wishing a joyous Easter.
Of course there are visitors and there are visits. The children receive eggs, candy, bunnies, baskets and other little presents.
To us American Poles there are no customs so traditional or beautiful as our Easter customs. There are many traditions associated with Easter week which our Poles have once observed, but today are not being carried on by our younger generation.
Those of us who have had the good fortune to have parents who came from Poland will never forget and constantly reminisce of the good old customs in which we shared during this Holy Season.
For one to know these customs. . .to have been a part of them. . .there is no other reaction but to be proud of ones’ ancestry; proud to be an American Pole; proud to be a descendant of such a wonderful, hospitable, religious and upstanding people as the Poles.
Therefore, on the eve of this joyous holy season, the Easter season, this Editor and the Post Eagle would like to break our traditional Easter Egg with each and every one of you and your family and wish all of you.
First in English…
A Happy and Joyous Easter,
and then in Polish (Polsku)
Zostancie z Bogiem!
Written by founder of the Post Eagle – Chester Grabowski
A Very Happy Easter
to all our Post Eagle Readers!