What is the day in Poland called

German and Polish Easter customs

Easter bunny, egg hunt, jaudus fire and water fight: the customs they associate with Easter are as different as people are. There are countless Easter traditions in Germany and Poland, some of which can be traced back to the Middle Ages and even to paganism.

The word “Easter” is probably derived from the old Germanic word “austro” for “east”, in its actual meaning “dawn”, and symbolizes the awakening of spring. Possibly the name of the festival goes back to "Ostara" or "Eoastrae" - the Germanic goddess of spring and fertility. In the Polish language, Easter is called “Wielkanoc”, which means “big night”. The term alludes to the night of Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead.

Since 1091, the Easter festival has started with Ash Wednesday, followed by a 40-day fasting period. Each person decides what to fast: Some eat only one meal a day, while others do without alcohol, sweets or meat. Easter is one of the moving festivals, the calendar date of which varies every year. The spring full moon is decisive for calculating the date: Easter Sunday should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the spring full moon

However, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not the only reason to celebrate Easter. The festival also honors spring - the time of year when nature comes to life. This is particularly noticeable in the Easter symbols. Easter eggs embody the origin of life and can be found in customs such as egg coloring and egg hunting. In Poland, each region has its own scratching and painting technique to turn the chicken egg into a folkloric work of art. The Easter bunny also embodies Easter in both countries. It is an important herald of spring and at the same time a symbol of fertility.

In Germany, Good Friday is an important day of the Easter festival. This is particularly noticeable in the fact that it is a legal and at the same time a silent holiday on which special restrictions apply to public events such as the ban on dancing. Fish is traditionally eaten on Good Friday in both Germany and Poland.

Holy Saturday also applies to silence and reflection. Nevertheless, preparations for Easter are often made on this day. In both countries Easter eggs are dyed, the apartments cleaned and decorated for Easter. In Germany, Easter lambs and yeast plaits are traditionally baked. Many Polish families go to church on Holy Saturday with a basket to have food (Święconki) blessed that they eat at their Easter breakfast on Easter Sunday. The basket mainly contains bread, eggs, an Easter lamb, sausages and horseradish. In some German regions the Easter fire or Jaudus fire is kindled on the evening of Holy Saturday, which is supposed to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The 40-day fasting period ends on Easter Sunday. On this day, children in Germany and Poland look for colorful Easter eggs as well as Easter chocolate figures and gifts that the Easter bunny previously hid in the garden. The highlight of Easter Sunday in both countries is the shared Easter breakfast.

The celebrations end on Easter Monday. But then the real fun begins in Poland: “Śmigus-dyngus” is the day of watering, during which young people get each other wet with water pistols, bottles and buckets. The men show the women who douse them with water that they are interested in them. This custom has very old roots, as it dates back to 966, when the Polish ruler Mieszko I was baptized on Easter Monday and thus converted Poland to Christianity. So Easter ends happily in Poland to this day.