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All Saints' Day in Poland

All Saints' Day in Polandn, November 1st,  is a holiday for everybody except of transportation and emergency services. In spite of its religious roots it was also observed during communistic times as a Day of Deceased. The traffic on the roads and streets is very high since almost everybody had to commute to reach the family's graves.

Read more: All Saints' Day in Poland


Our Lady of Czestochowa

Kraków's Czartoryski Museum houses Lady With an Ermine, one of the world's greatest non-religious masterpieces. In the city of Częstochowa, is a great religious treasure. The tale of the painting of Our Lady of Częstochowa, or Matka Boska Częstochowy. is intertwined with the glory and history of Poland. Legend holds that this portrait of the Virgin and the Baby Jesus was created by St. Luke the Apostle, and that Mary may have actually posed for him. It was found in Jerusalem by St. Helen, given to the Roman emperor in Constantinople, and credited with saving the city from an invasion of Saracens. Later given as a gift to Charlemagne, it was presented to Prince Leo of Ruthenia, once part of Poland but now in Ukraine.

The painting's history now becomes clearer. It came to be owned by Prince Władysław of Opole, Poland, who kept it in Belz, near Halicz. During an attack in 1382, a Tartar arrow hit the image of the Virgin in the throat, a mark which can still be seen today. He prince fled with the portrait to Częstochowa where he turned it over to the Pauline brothers at their monastery on Jasna Góra. The monks built a special chapel for the painting, which from then on came to be called Our Lady of Częstochowa.

Compare the same Madonna picture without and with the robe below:

In 1430, Hussite vandals stole the portrait, but their wagon with the picture loaded onto it would not move. One of the frustrated bandits struck the face of the Madonna twice across the cheek with his sword. Before he could come down with a third blow, legend says he was struck dead on the spot, and the other looters fled. Despite attempts at repair, the slashes on the Virgin's cheek remain to this day.

Read more: Our Lady of Czestochowa


All Saints' Day Celebration in Poland: Polish Cemeteries

We present here the newest photographs from the celebrations of the All Saint's Day in Poland (November 1st, 2007). All the graves are decorated with flowers, especially fresh autumn flowers - like chrysantemum (read more about Polish Flowers - Funerals, All Saints Day, Christmas and other Occasions - Birthdays, Women Day ).

Cemeteries in Poland are really ... full of life! They are visited by family members of these whose graves are there and by visitors on the daily/weekly basis. But nothing compares to how the cemeteries look on November 1st during the day and by night.

Read more: All Saints' Day Celebration in Poland: Polish Cemeteries


“The Sweetest Enemy” – Review

Sweetest EnemySweetest Enemy, written by Joanna Czechowska,  is a continuation the story that began with The Black Madonna of Derby. It shows complicated lives of Polish immigrants of second and third generation, who live in Derby, England and their relatives in Poland. The first part entitled "The Black Madonna of Derby" takes place before and after World War II and winds up at the end of 70s. Please, check the review at: Black Madonna of Derby - Review.

"Sweetest Enemy" story begins in Gdansk's shipyard in the 1980 after establishment of Solidarity's Workers' Union. Poland's of Solidarity times is showed through eyes of Alex Lato. Alex is a shipyard worker by profession but an artist in heart. The narrative continues during Martial Law in Poland and in Great Britain until the middle 80s and beginning 90s.

Read more: “The Sweetest Enemy” – Review


Lady With an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci

Lady With an Ermine (Madonna z Lasiczka)

Poland has for centuries been home to two of the most famous and admired paintings in the world. And they managed to survive hundreds of years of that nation’s turbulent history, most remarkably the devastation of the second world war.

One of them is a secular work of art, the Lady With an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci, one of about a dozen undisputed Leonardo paintings in existence. The other is the Black Madonna, also known as Our Lady of Częstochowa or Matka Boska Częstochowy. It has been revered by Poles generation upon generation and there is hardly a church in Polonia, in America or elsewhere, that does not display a replica.

Read more: Lady With an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci


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