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Kraków Easter Market & Celebrations 2020

Come to see how Kraków celebrates Easter—some of the local traditions date back to the 16th century

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Easter Fair in Kraków’s Main Square (March 29–April 8, 2020)

Easter is one of the most important holidays in Poland. The whole Holy Week is filled with traditions and special events. One of the most popular places during the Easter season is Kraków Easter Market. It's held annually in the Old Town's central square Rynek Główny (Kraków’s Main Square). Kraków Easter Market denotes the beginning of the holiday season in the city. The dates may vary but usually, it takes place for ten days leading to and covering part of Holy Week. This is where locals purchase the traditional handmade "palms" of dried flowers and plants to be blessed on the Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday: Palm & Craft Competition in Lipnica Murowana (April 5, 2020)

Other festivities also start on Palm Sunday when palm branches get blessed. The village of Lipnica Murowana, 30 km (19 mi) east of Kraków, holds an annual palm competition attracting 15,000 spectators by its festive atmosphere, various man-made palms that reach up to 30 m (100 ft). People also have their own palms branches blessed during a mass service on the market square.

Easter Saturday (April 11, 2020)

On Easter Saturday, which has a different date each year, Polish families bring food to church to be blessed. People bring baskets with bread, sausages, eggs, salt, and horseradish, and each of the components has its own symbolic meaning. As long as Jesus Christ sacrificed himself to save mankind from suffering on this day, Easter is actually a holiday of mixed sorrow and joy. Easter eggs symbolize the beginning of the new life, the salt is a weapon against bad spirits and misleading ideas, and the bread symbolizes the body of Jesus.

Easter Sunday (April 12, 2020)

On Easter Sunday after church, families gather for a festive meal. Before the meal begins people take a small piece of a blessed egg and exchange wishes. The Easter morning meal also includes sausage, ham, pate, potato salad, and beets. The only hot dish served is żurek (Polish rye soup) and white sausages. There are also plenty of desserts, like mazurek (a pie with icing), makowiec (poppy seed pie), and a kind of cheesecake.

Traditional Easter breakfast 2020
Traditional Easter breakfast

Easter Monday: Emaus Fair in Salwator (April 13, 2020)

Festivities don't end on Easter Sunday. Emaus fair follows on Easter Monday. The fair occurs at the Norbertine Monastery in Salwator. It's known as the odpust fair—a traditional indulgence fair that accompanied church service since the 16th century. The name Emaus comes from the biblical village of Emmaus. In present days, the fair features stalls of gingerbread hearts and other goodies, folk toys and souvenirs, balloons, shooting galleries, carousels, rides, raffles, and all sorts of fun that children particularly enjoy.

Tuesday after Easter Monday: Rękawka Festival on Krakus Mound (April 14, 2020)

On Tuesday after Easter Monday, locals gather on Krakus Mound for the Rękawka Festival. This place is known as Krakow's highest point, but also the oldest and most mysterious location in the city. In the past, the mound was used for pagan rites for commuting with the dead forefathers. Modern-day festivities feature medieval reenactments, a festive fair, workshops on historical customs, and historical games for kids. The highlights of the day-long program are the lighting of the Holy Fire, a medieval warrior run, a medieval battle, and a medieval music concert.

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