Kashubian Easter traditions

A year on a Kashubian farm is a time of constant change. Periods of joy and sadness, hard work and rest, prayers for prosperity and abundance intertwine in the rhythm of the changing seasons. And although summer is most associated with the sun and bloom, spring was the most awaited herald of rebirth - both of nature and spirit.

"Zymk is coming, before the stream starts"

Spring in Kashubian life began on March 12, on Gregory’s Day. On this day, the harsh lady of winter was lost. Rural youth ceremonially carried around the village an effigy representing a woman, which was then drowned in a river or lake amid cries of joy. This custom has survived to this day in some parts of the region under the name “drowning madder”, which is a symbolic expulsion of winter and the beginning of waiting for spring.

In spring, the biggest event is Jastra – Easter. Already two weeks before Easter, young people, accompanied by singing and music, went to the forest to collect willow and birch branches for palm trees and brooms.

On the last Sunday before Easter, the so-called On April Sunday, twigs brought from the forest were blessed in the church and then, stuck behind pictures, they decorated homes during the holidays. The Kashubians believed that the consecrated shoots had magical powers, so each household member had to swallow catkins, which were supposed to protect them from throat diseases, fever and fever, and whole twigs were left by the farmers in their barns, pigsties, stables and beehives to protect them from evil. entire inventory. The remaining twigs were used to make brooms to drive away all evil forces from the houses after the winter during the great cleaning on Holy Saturday.

Holy Week

According to Kashubian beliefs, the pre-Easter Holy Week is the best time for sowing and planting flowers. In particular, Easter Thursday is the most convenient day for working in the field, and the plants planted on this day are expected to grow into handsome and long-blooming specimens. At that time, women were involved in cooking and dyeing traditional eggs intended for the Easter table. These were homogeneous eggs, usually red and blue, green and brown, which were distributed to neighbours during the holidays along with Easter wishes.

“Płaczëbóg” (Good Friday) is a day on which Kashubians observed fasting very strictly. The only food they ate during the day was dry bread and unseasoned potatoes. From that day on, the church bells fell silent and were replaced by clattering sounds and rings announcing mourning.

Wielgö Saturday is the day when Kashubians lit and blessed a new fire and used thorn wood as kindling. One of the most important rituals of this day was a morning bath in a lake or river. While walking there, you couldn’t talk to anyone or turn around. The bath was supposed to guarantee health for the entire coming year.


On the morning of Jastra (Easter), fasting was still observed in some households, and before noon, roasted fish and plums with dumplings were most often served. The Kashubians’ favourite dish on that day was “praznica”, scrambled eggs with bacon. The richness of the Easter table depended on the social class to which the host belonged. Poorer peasants ate eggs, sausage or ham, and yeast cake.

Only wealthier land owners and minor nobility cultivated the tradition of blessing food. “Jastrowa jôda” (a basket with food to be blessed) consisted of eggs, sausage, meat and bread, which was later placed on the table along with a lamb made of butter. The evening of Jastrowa Sunday is the time of the so-called Conciliation, i.e. the determination of the bride’s dowry between the parents of the bride and groom.

“Jastrowy” (Easter) Monday is devoted to the traditional “dingus” whipping. Boys would stealthily sneak into the bedrooms of girls or young married women to beat them with green birch or juniper rods, shouting “Dëgu, dëge, two eggs each, and if you don’t dô, they’ll wash it.” Despite the pain of whipping, girls willingly submitted to this custom, because the more whippings a girl received, the more successful she was with boys.

Jaster Monday ended the Easter celebrations in Kashuby. Afterwards, they returned to their daily household duties and work in the fields.

To this day, some of these rituals are celebrated in traditional Kashubian families, but tourists have the opportunity to learn more about Kashubian holiday customs during a visit during Easter to the Kashubian Ethnographic Park in Wdzydze Kiszewskie.

Every year, Holy Week is organized there, during which you can participate in solemn Holy Masses, bless palm trees and eat Easter food according to the Kashubian tradition. You can also observe the preparations made by Kashubian housewives for the holidays from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday, take a look at the traditional egg dyeing and the decoration in the rooms during Easter.



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