Easter in a Polish-English home

Happy Easter to your family from ours. We have a brilliant blog from Darren our editor, about his family’s Easter celebrations.

As Easter fast approaches, I thought it would be a good time to share with you something about the traditions in my own English-Polish home.

Although neither my wife nor myself are particularly religious, we still like tradition, so Easter is a bigger deal in or house than in most of my English friends’ homes.

Setting the scene…
Firstly, we decorate the house – really! The living room and kitchen are covered in hundreds of coloured eggs (pisanki), chicks, rabbits, and flowers. We decorate eggs by boiling them in different colour food dyes, or by placing them in heat-reactive sleeves which contract when the egg is boiled, giving them pretty coats.
Decorations are taken from the loft the week before Easter weekend and multiply every year thanks to last minute trips to craft and bargain shops. It’s almost as extravagant as Christmas: we’re just missing a tree and some elves!

Good Friday
Good Friday is the day that we give presents to our children. Though many people give chocolate Easter eggs, my kids don’t really like chocolate very much (I know, right!), so we often buy them a little something practical but cute; such as a lunchbox set with their favourite cartoon characters, or we take them out for the day.
We do occasionally set up an Easter Egg Hunt (with plastic eggs) for them in the garden but they are so competitive that it can end up being a battlefield!

Easter Sunday – Niedziela Wielkanocna
Sunday morning is my favourite time of the whole Easter period because it means FOOD! Traditionally, the Polish custom is to take a basket of food (containing sausages, eggs, salt, ham, bread, and other essentials) to church on the Saturday, to be blessed, and this would form the basis of your meal on Sunday morning. However, as I mentioned before, we aren’t very religious, so we don’t follow this particular tradition. The food we eat, though, is thoroughly Polish: Coloured eggs, bread (chleb), eggs with mayonnaise, ham (szynka), egg salad, horseradish and beetroot (ćwikła), and sour rye soup with white sausage and egg (żurek). Did you see that? There’s something eggy going on here…
After the meal is finished, we will often go out for the day to walk off some of the excess soup…

Wet Monday – Śmigus-Dyngus
Rare in England, though not unheard of, this is the day many Polish girls and women dread; because tradition dictates
that boys should throw water over any girls they meet! My own experience of this phenomenon came just after I moved in with my girlfriend (now wife), when I was rudely awakened by our flatmate who decided to tip a cup of water over her… and me! Luckily for my wife, I’m too afraid of her to try this myself!

And so we reach the end of my little trip through Easter. How do you celebrate Easter?

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