Monday, May 22, 2017
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Saints and Patrons

All Saints' Day by Night at Powązki and Wolski Cemeteries

Powązki Cemetery (Polish Cmentarz Powązkowski) is the oldest and most famous cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, which is situated in the western part of the city. It contains a mausoleum with memorials to many of the greats in Polish history including many interred since 1925 along the Avenue of the Meritorious (Aleja Zasluzonych, est. 1925). It has also a very large military section for the graves of those who fought and died for their country in the past 200 years including the large number of those involved in the ill-fated Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis during World War II, the Battle of Warsaw and the September Campaign. Wolski Roman Catholic cemetery - is one of the biggest still active cemeteries in Warsaw.

Read more: All Saints' Day by Night at Powązki and Wolski Cemeteries


The Day of the Dead

As the sunny warm days of September and October turn into November, the trees are more stark and the landscape becomes bare against the dramatic November sky. The eve of All Saint's Day begins the preparation for the "day of the dead" or the day when many Poles visit the cemetery to pay respect to their dead family members. In the old days, loaves of bread were baked to give to the beggars so that they would pray for the dead. Today, families attend Mass, visit the graves, and take flowers, but many still light candles at the grave site. Some cemeteries are all aglow as the sun sets that day.

Read more: The Day of the Dead


St. Kinga: Patron of Salt Miners

Kinga (Kunegunda) was a daughter of Hungarian King Bela IV and niece of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. She married King Boleslaus V of Poland at sixteen.

According to the legend, when Polish king sent his envoys to take princess Kinga to Poland to marry a Polish king, her father wanted to show a royal generosity by giving gold and silver from his treasury to the Poles. Kinga asked him to give a salt instead, since Poles did have gold and silver but they did not have much needed salr. The king let Kinga to take as much Hungarian salt as she wanted, but Kinda had a premonition and she just dropped her engagement ring to the mine before going to Poland.

Read more: St. Kinga: Patron of Salt Miners


October Polish Traditions: St. Hedwig's & St. Luke's Days; Fall Recipes for Soups and Desserts

October is a harvest month all over the world, but especially so in Poland, an agricultural country. It is a time to bring in the crops and to celebrate a bit. There is usually a frost in most places by late September so it is only the beets, cabbages, carrots and other root crops and perhaps some grains that are being harvested.
Old Polish legends sing of harvesting these late root crops on or just after October 15 which is St.Hedwig's Day. In Poland this is called Sw. Jadwiga. It is said that she sweetens these crops if they are left till then. One old Polish ditty that is shown in Sophie Knab's "Polish Customs, Traditions and Folklore" book, tells of this:

Read more: October Polish Traditions: St. Hedwig's & St. Luke's Days; Fall Recipes for Soups and Desserts


Miners' Day or St. Barbara Day (Barborka) - December 4th

One of the most celebrated days associated with workers group is St. Barbara's Day on December 4th. St. Barbara is a patron of coal miners.

Miners' profession was always considered dangerous but prestigious therefore this day called "Barborka" or Barburka" (there was a long battle between puritans of the Polish language which form is correct) was celebrated for centuries in a spectacular way. The name of the feast originate of course from St. Barbara as a patron.

Read more: Miners' Day or St. Barbara Day (Barborka) - December 4th


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