Friday, March 25, 2005

Happy Easter 

It's Good Friday here already in Brisbane, Australia, so Happy Easter or happy holiday to you all, depending on your preferences. I'm staying close to home for the duration (including Easter Monday, which is a holiday in Australia, too) so normal blogging will continue uniterrupted. Make sure to take a break from feasting and celebrations and visit over the next few days.

By the way, Good Friday in Polish is called Great Friday, which to my mind is a pretty accurate reflection on the significance of what Christians believe happened on that day almost 2000 years ago. I was always mystified, though, by the English name "Good Friday" - as in, what's so good about the crucifixion? I'm sure there's a logical and perfectly acceptable answer to why Good Friday is known as "Good" Friday, and I'm sure that many of you will be able to enlighten me on this point of a cultural gap.

Here's a nice Polish tradition for Easter (I think it's also popular to the east, in Ukraine and Russia) - Pisanki, or boiled eggs painted over in intricate, colorful patterns. It's part of another Polish Catholic tradition, which I don't believe is very prevalent anywhere else, of blessing the food on Easter Saturday, where people take to their local church baskets full of eggs (normal as well as painted), bread, salt, meats and other food to be blessed for the big breakfast on Sunday morning.

Another Polish tradition is Smigus-Dyngus on Easter Monday, where (mostly) young men sprinkle (mostly) young women with water. This ancient Polish precursor of the wet T-shirt competition is generally quite innocent and civilized, but if you're traveling around that time in rural Poland, beware: buckets, hoses and even fire engines are frequently used.


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