Being more precise, Easter in Lyon the Polish way. It is difficult but possible. Why? Let me tell you..
So, I think you know by now I am a real Polish girl. And even if Jadore Lyon very much, I love my country with the whole heart. The culture, language, Polish people, hometown, family and traditions are very important. I am also very proud of being Pole and I love to share it with others. That is why when so important events like Easter arrive, I get on the mission…to celebrate it for myself and with others & to share & to make the most out of my Polish wonderful Easter traditions. And why did I say it is difficult? Because there is a bit of culture shock for Polish and French people when we talk about Easter! For me, it seems that Easter for French people is mostly and totally all about chocolate & chocolate and chocolate Eggs. While Polish people know very little about chocolate during Easter! How come? Very simple. In Poland we are very focused on the religious aspect of the Easter and then there are so many traditions around it that even for me it is very hard to follow all. But there is no chocolate tradition involved. Anyways, there are plenty to understand and celebrate. That is why I find excuses for myself and when I am abroad I choose some not all traditions which are easier to celebrate and possible to implement in France. As many of Polish Easter traditions are very particular. Are you ready to find out which ones I am talking about? Here you are – The Typical and Very Particular Polish Easter Traditions:
Firstly, Easter in Poland, we start with the Big Thursday, Friday when we visit the churches to pray by the grave of the Jesus and perform confession so we are ready to welcome Jesus who came back to live with the ‘clean heart’…that how i understand it anyway. So, here in France, this is doable and possible. You can find a church and visit it before the Eater as I do. I am very & very lucky as I found a real Polish church and what is more, I found a real Polish community which makes me feel like I am at home! I am not very, very religious person but God & the community are very important to me. And the Polish church in Lyon is a wonderful place, full of welcoming, kind and generous people and the very welcoming and good priest. I have never met such a positive, smiling, full of positive energy prist!
Secondly, Eater in Poland is also about eggs! But not the chocolate eggs at all! We talk about ‘pisanki’! Have you ever heard about them? So these are normal eggs which you you boil and paint and which you prepare for a special food basket called ‘swieconka’. Does it sound complicated? Well, it starts to be complicated but so interesting. So, imagine..you prepare a basket full of different samples of food and each has a different meaning and importance in the basket. I can tell you what to put in the food basket but even I need to remind myself the meaning of those things. So I use a small helper from here for example. And this is partly doable and possible in France.
Why? Because you can buy and paint the eggs (you can even encourage your French friends to have fun doing it with you). Here you can see how creative with painting eggs you can get and here how beautiful a real & traditional ‘pisanki’ are! Next, you need to and you can also find a real bread (not the French baguette and not the toasts but a real bread), you can easily add to your food basket required: salt, butter and decorate with the white lace napkin and few green twigs. The more tricky part is to find the Polish sausages and the Polish ham the Polish sausages and the Polish ham (as they are the best quality in Europe!) and the lamb cake! I mean not a cake made from the lamb 😉 but the sponge cake in a shape of the lamb – ‘baranek’ cake! Even if I love baking, I would need a special cake form which is impossible to find in France and even difficult to find in Poland. But in Poland when Easter comes, the lamb shaped cake is available in every bakery, shop and church to buy! So after few years in Lyon, in France I got some surprising experience to find my cake for food basket. First year, I was offered it by very kind French friend! Simply, he brought it from Alsace! There are plenty of Polish and German traditions so it was easy to find the cake. Second year, by accident, I was passing by the very French shop called Cerise et Potiron to be totally surprised to see my Polish real – ‘baranek’ cake there. I didn’t care how did it arrive there, I was so happy to find it and buy it! This year I will ask why they have it or maybe you know it? It doesn’t matter as long as they have it in the shop every year for me! Problem solved! Yet, lastly, I can always go to our Polish church and see at the pre-Easter, not professional, from the van, just on time, Polish food market = so speaking, the kind Polish people sharing (selling) some Polish food specialities; if my ‘Baranek’ is there. Only Polish people understand how important it is and that’s why I appreciate if church helps us as well! I love our Polish community spirit!
Uff…it’s going to be long! There are still so many Polish Easter traditions to celebrate! So…thirdly, we take the food basket to the church on Saturday to have it blessed. It is doable and possible and so easy to do! I love it, I take my French part to the church for easy and short ceremony of blessing the food. It is easier then the following tradition which is eating ‘not that sweet’ Easter Sunday breakfast in France.
The difficulty here is that the French people usually and mostly and only will eat their delicious and best croissants, pain chocolates and eventually baguettes but with jam or nutella only! No way you can have bread with ham, eggs and sausages for a breakfast in Lyon…so again partly double and possible in France to eat the food from the ‘swieconka’. The compromise here is to eat the ’pianki’, Polish sausages and ham plus other bits and pieces from the food basket as a French Apero! Ufff… i made it and it was delicious and funny!
Lastly, because i am in Lyon , in France, and even if I am a Pole who has never known what a chocolate Easter egg is, now I do a very pleasant compromise of exchanging the chocolate eggs with family and friends on the Easter Sunday! As this is one of the benefits of living in France = lucky me! Because who says no to chocolate and Easter chocolate is extremely creative and goooood!
Oh no, this wasn’t last! The last thing i want to mention is that I do another pleasant compromise with celebrating Polish Easter in France! And which is another benefit of living in France not in Poland during Eater. Basically, I do not mention about the (in)famous Wet Easter Monday – Smingus Dyngus! The day which makes me speechless and wet in Poland, the day which i like the least in Poland, yet for many it’s a fun day each year. Have you heard about it? Have you ever experienced something like this before? Do you know this very particular Polish tradition when the boys pour the water on girls (version kids, young adults), when the man pour cheap perfume on women (version families, mature adults) and when the boys get chocolate and sweets for this and man get shot of vodka! This is anyway how it has been celebrated in my region from where I come from. So are you shocked, surprised or interested in Poland more and more now?
Uff…let me finish! As even i didn’t realize how rich the Polish Easter celebrations are! I need to say that I did the very brief summary of Polish Easter traditions as there are much more to talk about. So if you are interested, here you can find more information. You can always ask a question or simply visit Poland to experience it yourself!
And you!? How are you celebrating your Easter? Polish way? French way? Or maybe some other way? What is your way? And what are you favourite Easter traditions? Please share with me and Happy Easter to all of us!