Easter in Krakow is a truly unique celebration.
If you’re in Krakow during Holy Week, be sure to drive two hours south of Krakow to visit the small village of Chocholow, located at the bottom of the Tatra Mountains. Here you can see women dressed in traditional folk costumes while cleaning their beautiful wooden houses to be well prepared for Easter.
Some days before the holidays, Easter eggs are traditionally prepared. Their shells are coloured usually with natural methods and decorated with various patterns with wax, paper-cuts, or even an onion skin. Easter Saturday, practicing Roman Catholics go to churches, carrying baskets with food for blessing. They should have inside Easter eggs – symbols of new life, a lamb made of dough or sugar, which symbolize the tortured Christ. The basket also includes a piece of sausages prepared for Christmas, butter, a pinch of salt, and a slice of bread. In many churches, You can also see the symbolic grave of Jesus. The best places to go in Krakow are the Transfiguration of Christ at 2 Pijarska Street and St. Bernardine at 2 Bernardynska Street.
On Easter Sunday, locals attend a morning resurrection mass — if you go, you will see people in folk costumes as well as a huge, joyful procession. The best places to attend are the Royal Cathedral on the Wawel Hill or St. Marry’s Basilica on the Main Square of Krakow. If you can, go to a Polish family home for a ceremonial Easter breakfast. It will be your longest breakfast ever during which you will have for sure a lot of eggs, white borscht with sausage, meat with homemade horseradish, vegetable salad, and some Easter cakes — round baba and richly decorated Mazurek full of dried fruit and nuts.
Monday is a good day to go out for a long walk and rest after all that heavy eating on the previous day — but it is also a day you have to be very careful not to end up totally wet. The pagan tradition is to attack anyone you see with water. The meaning behind it was purification and preparation for the spring to come, but over time, the significance has shifted towards the commemoration of baptism. It’s also even sometimes interpreted as an old game to help young men to find a wife! Boys would be allowed to pour water on women as an opportunity to start a conversation. Or to see your dream girl in a wet shirt or dress, but that’s another topic…
You can consider yourself lucky if only a child has poured water on you from a plastic toy. Less lucky is meeting a group of teenagers with full buckets. As there is nothing you can do about it, my advice is to hide your electronic devices, relax and come back home to change if you become totally wet. The good thing is that you will never forget Easter in Poland thanks to this little adventure. The best place to go is Zwierzyniec, where the Easter Market is celebrated (take tram #6 and go to the last stop).
On Easter Tuesday, some locals will go to Krak’s Mound to attend a pagan feast called Rekawka, which is celebrated every year to welcome spring.