Easter is an extremely important period in Poland in keeping with its rich Catholic heritage and the strong tradition of faith that defines and shapes its culture. The two central focuses at this season are church and family. The many churches in Poznan, overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, offer multiple services/masses on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and, of course, Easter Sunday. Additionally, concerts of sacred music occur in many places of worship and other venues throughout the season. On Easter Saturday, people here in Poznan and elsewhere in Poland visit their churhes, bringing baskets of items representing food they will serve at family gatherings on Sunday. Each item in the basket -- sausage, bread, juice, eggs, and other items -- symbolizes some aspect of Jesus' death and resurrection. Families bring these baskets to the priests to be blessed in preparation for the meal the following day.
|A family arrives at the local church with its basket of food|
to be blessed by their priest.
|After the baskets are blessed, families return home to begin|
preparation of festive meals that will be shared with
extended family members on Easter Sunday.
|On Easter Sunday, members and visitors of the Poznan|
International Church gather in a hotel conference room
for worship. Families and individuals come from a host
of countries and represent North America, South America,
Asia and Europe.
|An international praise band, primarily medical students, leads|
the congregation in song.
Our Good Friday evening service was a combined event with our sponsoring Polish congregation. Praise songs and prayers were bi-lingual, and the Polish pastor brought the evening's message, with a young Polish student providing the English translation. On Easter Sunday afternoon, one of the families in church -- from India -- invited the congregation to a celebratory dinner at their home. Around 40 people accepted the gracious invitation, each bringing a tasty dish to contribute to the sumptuous table. With so many nations represented, you can imagine the variety of dishes.
|Church members from a host of nations mingle during the|
Easter gathering at the home of one of the member families.
|The hosts' daughter offers appetizers to the guests.|
|Not only were many countries represented, but all age groups|
|My wife, Robin (right), preparing a salad while visiting |
with our new friend from Turkmenistan.
Despite cool temperatures, there are indications that we will soon turn the page. A few days have brought some relief from the chill, and people here seize those opportunities.
|Some of the city's fountains have been turned back on after|
a hard winter. This one is in the Stary Rynek.
|Youngsters, eager for better weather, have returned to the|
playgrounds. Interest in soccer, always the dominant sport
here, has become even more feverish as Poznan prepares
to host early matches of Euro 2012.
|Grass is beginning to green, and the trees are on the verge|
of leafing out.
On one recent pleasant day, Robin and I walked to the Stary Rynek (old market square) to view the striking of noon on the tower clock. Each day at that time here in Poznan, a bugler stands on the tower balcony and sounds a plaintiff tune. As the clock strikes, two mechanical goats emerge from the tower and butt each other 12 times before retreating. This day was warm enough that a small crowd gathered, and I took a short video of the event, but I have not solved the technical barriers to adding a video clip to this blog -- still working it out. In the meantime, here's a link to a shore YouTube video of the goats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ0LzhsfeNI. Incidentally, there are a fair number of nice videos of Poznan on YouTube; there's a link to one on a tab at the top of this blog.
Next week -- an update on our research project and related activities.