Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday – Wielki Piątek

by Staś Kmieć
for the full article - Easter Traditions: The Holy Week – Wielki Tydzień check the April issue of The Polish American Journal
Holy Friday is the day of deepest mourning and a strict fast is observed. Traditionally a time of silence and prayer is observed from 12 to 3 o'clock. In church during afternoon service, a coffin with a cross and surrounded by candles is prominently displayed, and a ceremony of adoring and kissing the Cross is observed at the conclusion.
At Stations of the Cross the martyred Christ is offered to the grave. In cities and towns, people visit various churches to view representations of Christ’s tomb, which are often beautifully and artistically arranged and decorated in flowers.
Honor guards (Turki Wielkanocne) consisting of local fraternities, students, scouts and even the army keep watch in shifts through the night.
Staged events of the Passion often occurred, along with a procession. Mystery Plays are staged at several shrines (including Kalwaria).
Not only was there abstention from meat dishes, but also a single meal fast. The devout voluntarily refrained from eating and drinking, or would drink only water and eat dry bread.