ChanuKrakow: Celebrating Hanukkah at the JCC Krakow

Christmas Markets aren’t the only thing happening in Krakow this time of year- just a short look at part of the ChanuKrAkow celebrations at the Jewish Community Center in Krakow this year! We were lucky enough to be able to attend just part of the ChanuKrakow celebrations this year in the Kazimierz District. Hundreds gathered…

Polish Traditions: The Name Day and Grilled Sausages

I am combining these two topics because last night I experienced them both together!  Where we Americans take pride in roasting marshmallows, Poles take pride in roasting sausage over a fire.  They eat more grilled sausage than hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks, or especially marshmallows (since those are pretty hard to find here) combined.  Playing in an…

Polish Traditions: Goodbye Winter, Goodbye Marzanna

On the first day of spring, all the school children of Krakow take dolls they have made from hay or corn-stalks, and throw them down the river, sometimes even lighting them on fire.  These Marzanna dolls, were born from a Pagan tradition, and its quite suprising that they live on in such a Catholic nation….

Polish Holidays: Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday you can head to the Main Square to see a competition of “palms” beautiful handmade poles filled with color and vibrance; as well as, traditional song and dance all day long.  If you have your own palm, don’t forget to take it to church to have it blessed by a priest (you’ll…

Festivals, Traditions, and Holidays

The best way to find out what is going on in Krakow during your stay is to check in with the Krakow Festival Bureau or grab a copy of the Karnet magazine.  (For those of you with an Instagram or Facebook, I suggest following the accounts for both those offices, among others, to get a feel…

Polish Traditions: The Legend of the Lajkonik

You can see the Lajkonik all over the city, it is on the fabric used to cover some bus and tram seats, its on many brochures, used in logos, it is a true symbol of Krakow.  The Lajkonik is a man on a hobby-horse, dressed in fanciful clothing, that is said to bring good luck,…

Day Trippin: Czestochowa, the Czarna Madonna, and Jasna Gora Monostary

To anyone interested in Catholic history, or is a Catholic themself, heading to Czestochowa to the Jasna Gora Monostary from Krakow might be a good idea.  The original Czarna Madonna is held here, and the monostary is also an end-point for thousands of people on pilgramages, my mother-in-law included.  The actual piece of art is held behind…

Say Hello to the Hejnal

Every hour on the hour, keep your ears open for the Hejnal playing his trumpet from the top of St. Mary’s Church Tower.  Legend has it that during a Mongol Invasion in the 1200’s, the Hejnal began playing his trumpet to warn the city, and was shot in the heart.  Today if you listen closely,…

Polish Traditions: Easter Basket and Eggs

If you’re lucky enough to be in Poland for Easter, we suggest joining in some of the traditions, whether you are Catholic or not.  Two very unique traditions are the dying of Easter eggs and the blessing of Easter baskets. Go to a local farmer’s market to find all the supplies you will need to put…