So here we are, another Easter arrives and for us at least we’re following the well worn footsteps of yesteryear with all the pomp and ceremony that a Catholic Easter in Warsaw demands.
It starts with a trip to the supermarket to buy more food than we will ever stand a chance of eating. This made worse by an Easter country food parcel arriving from our source in Mazury and this morning by a truck load of yummy cakes from Joanna. If anyone is hungry this Easter please come visit us!
The baskets are dragged in from the storage room, cleaned up and dressed. Assorted chicken and egg decorations are splattered around the home, a palm or two are purchased along with various other Easter flowers and greenery. It’s a bit like Christmas but without the toys and Santa.
For not terribly good Catholics Easter is two days. The first day, Saturday, is ‘basket day’ and the second day, today, is ‘family day’. Basket day starts with a trip to the church to get the baskets blessed and to collect a supply of holy water.
At the church with our baskets
Our church celebrating 600 years in business
The blessing ceremony
From the rear of our church you can look down to the river and the new fountains they have been building that are soon due to open and brighten up the drive along wisłostrada.
The new fountains
On the way back we pass through the ‘new town’, which is part of the ‘old town’.
Heading for new town square from our church
New town square from Freta
It’s then back to babcia’s home for herrings, barszcz and other goodies before heading back out onto the streets for a church tour. The story is that we should visit ten churches although I’m not sure I believe this as what are you supposed to do if you live in a remote village? Driving around until you’ve found nine other churches might take a while, especially after a few vodkas. Fortunately for us we don’t live in a remote village so finding ten churches can be done within a very comfortable stroll from babcia’s place. We did all ten of them, well I actually skipped one of them so I’m going straight to hell. Our favourite, as usual, was Kościół św. Marcina w Warszawie, on a street parallel to the cathedral and would be facing it if there were not buildings in the way. It’s a very modest church that seems to be operated by brown nuns and it has a very distinctive style.
We do the walk and join the queues waiting to get into most of the churches to see the special Easter displays. A lot of churches were following the same theme this year, that of a large dead Jesus lying on the ground partly wrapped in the Turin shroud with other decorative elements and words of wisdom going on around him. The dead Jesus figures were not evident last year so I suspect Warsaw was hit by a very persuasive dead Jesus salesman sometime in the intervening months. Either that or they were a giveaway if you bought any three altar cloths from ‘Religious Stuff R Us’. For the most part these Easter scenes are done with the utmost devotion, sincerity and no doubt humility – none of which removes the fact that they are generally quite depressing.
Warsaw cathedral stayed with the plastic Jesus theme but enhanced it with a collection of crosses carved with meaningful dates, thankfully free of bloodstains.
Easter crosses at the cathedral.
All photos with the iPhone 4.