Poland and Polish Discussion Group and Forum

Welcome to the original English language Poland and Polish discussion group board. This message forum is a place where English-speaking Poles, foreigners (expats) living in Poland, and anyone with a genuine interest in Poland can discuss and read the views of others concerning Poland. Subjects include: Polish news and current affairs; Life in Poland; politics; genealogy research; Polish culture and history; advice and tips on visiting Poland; Polish property and investment issues. The aim of our group is to increase awareness of wonderful Poland using the English language and allow and foster the honest debate and exchange of opinions on anything vaguely related to Poland and Polish - positive, negative and/or neutral! To state the obvious: all opinions and views expressed on this site are solely those of their respective authors and are not necessarily those of anyone else! Messages consisting of ads will be deleted.

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Poland and Polish Discussion Group and Forum
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Easter is coming

Easter is coming.

What are members plans for Easter?

Will you do the basket blessing in Church on the Saturday?

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I am supposed to be going to Jordan to see Petra, wadi rum, red sea, dead sea et al... will post some pics when I get back.

Seems like a distant mirage right now though, especially with this miserable weather in the UK...

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Ania (or anyone): How do you post pictures to the forum?

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One way is to open a free photobucket account. Upload pictures to that site and copy and paste the code given on that site to this one.


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Yes either photobucket or tinypic or picturetrail. There are loads of them.

You do have to resize the original pic in photo editing software to a reasonable size otherwise it throws the whole thread out of sync.

You copy and paste the image url and for most forums you have to doctor the code. There is an easy to follow tutorial in the link below :

how to embed images

Re: Easter is coming

What are members plans for Easter?

We'll be in Poland for Easter. Krakow to be precise.

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Dunno - must request clearance from my mother-in-law!

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I'm not a Catholic. However, as we are now a 'family', we have our own basket and we will all go the local church to have it blessed.

I bought the basket complete with chocolate rabbits and eggs from a local store. The foulest tasting chocolate I have ever tasted.

My mother-in-law probably expects us to go there for Easter ...

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Chocolate eggs? My girl says that Chocolate Easter eggs aren't part of a Polish Easter. Is she correct?

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They aren't a Polish tradition. As far as I know they are a tradition in England only, but I've no idea if they are also in Germany or france etc.

The tradition in Poland is to decorate real hard boiled eggs (with different coloured food dyes etc) and eat them on Easter Sunday. You're supposed to arrange a basket with cold cuts, some bread, butter, salt, pepper and a few slices of babka and the eggs. People used to also add a lamb figurine (made from sugar) and some flowers like daffs and (are they?) pussywillow stalks. The basket is taken to the church and blessed by the priest. It's usually a really nice occasion seeing everyone walking down the road with their lovely baskets in the Spring sunshine. Especially touching seeing men carrying the baskets for their wives in London - I cannot imagine an English guy feeling comfortable doing this, but maybe our English forum members married to Polki have been converted.....

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>Chocolate eggs? My girl says that Chocolate Easter eggs aren't part of a Polish Easter. Is she correct?

of course she is
I was back in NI in January and Woollies was filled with them - here in good old Trojmiasto the best we can do is chocolate bunnies. Check the quality, though - as Hans suggested, if you're not careful you might meet the worst chocolate of your life.
Lindt bunnies are good ... /dribbles slightly at thought/ ... but it would be nice if Cadburys could wheel out their UK lines over here.

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As a closet chocoholic I think I can safely say that Poles have never been big sweet and chocolate eaters. The stuff was never marketed the way it was in the UK. The kids hopefully have better teeth as a result (but if not then at least the dentists are supposed to be good in Poland). Commie chocolate was pretty tasteless and disgusting. The chocolate they come up with now is passable but still not fantastic, but then they don't have a history of producing it.

In the UK chocolate quality has improved with brands like organic green & blacks emerging. The traditional cadbury's has always been too sweet for me. Green and blacks is now part of cadburys schw. empire too. Belgian is the best. Swiss is too full of fat.

A religious Easter is not about chocolate, but if it makes kids happy then who is complaining.

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There is a *lot* of chocolate in the shops. Perhaps not as much as in the UK, but still a lot. The days when Halwa was the only thing on shelves have long since passed ... In quality it ranges from expensive Swiss, through Polish-but-ok, to stuff that tastes worse than UK cooking chocolate (y'know, the stuff you eat after all the real chocolate *and* the hot-chocolate-drink-powder has been polished off)

But don't hold out too much hope for this meaning good teeth - kids here quite often have dreadful teeth. Where we live it's common to see the front teeth worn down to rotten stubs even before the children start school - and noone is in the least bit concerned. It seems to be considered as normal for childhood - just as are Chickenpox, measles and mumps ...

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Do they have flouride in the water & toothpaste? Sounds like more public health education is needed.

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Truely wonderful and bloody dreadful.

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As Claire says shops in Poland are now full of sweets and chocolate of all kinds.

Amazingly our local Tesco hypermarket has this year a vast range of imported English eggs - Thomas the Tank Engine eggs, Bob the Builder eggs, Aero eggs, Cadburys Dairy Milk eggs, Cadbury's Buttons eggs, After Eight eggs, and best of all Cadburys Creme Egg eggs (Proof above)!

Nobody except myself appeared to be interested in the English-style boxed eggs. Instead people were buying up trolley loads of Polish 'chocolate' rabbits and small hollow 'chocolate' eggs. The Easter rabbit in the above picture is an example of one of the biggest selling Polish chocolates this Easter. It contains a claimed 6% Cocoa!!!

As both Hans and Claire have testified it is almost inedible.

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"The tradition in Poland is to decorate real hard boiled eggs (with different coloured food dyes etc) and eat them on Easter Sunday. You're supposed to arrange a basket with cold cuts, some bread, butter, salt, pepper and a few slices of babka and the eggs. People used to also add a lamb figurine (made from sugar) and some flowers like daffs and (are they?) pussywillow stalks. The basket is taken to the church and blessed by the priest. It's usually a really nice occasion seeing everyone walking down the road with their lovely baskets in the Spring sunshine."

A very good description.

Younger families seem to also now add a shitty 'chocolate' rabbit and a 'chocolate' egg or two to the basket. And as Hans says you can now buy readymade baskets filled with Polish 'chocolate' Easter rabbits, eggs, and a lamb.

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Do they have flouride in the water?

It probably depends on the area. But the places I know of don't.

Do they have flouride in the toothpaste?

The same toothpastes are on sale here as anywhere else - Colgate, Aquafresh, Blend-a-med, etc.

But, it could be that, more people buy the cheaper Polish brands, which probably don't.

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Well toothpaste is only good if people are taught the correct way to brush and told not to go to bed without brushing teeth first. When a Polish friend of mine was little her mum used to give her a sweet whenever she wanted her to be quiet. She ended up with a black tooth as a child. In those days people in the UK had notoriously bad teeth. It's only because of a huge public health initiative going into the schools and teaching kids dental hygiene that's helped partly reverse all that. Fluoridation of tapwater isn't necessary as long as you use a fluoride paste and don't sit there drinking sugar ladan tea or sticky toffee all day.

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Chocolate is not the big culprit amongst sweets. Most chocolate is processed with an alkaline process (dutch chocolate is not a geographic term but rather the use of alkalis to emulsify cocoa fat – cocoa butter). Also, cocoa butter forms an occlusive seal on teeth to protect them from acids; and elements of cocoa solids (expeller cake, etc.) are actually antibacterial. This is not to say that chocolate is a substitute for brushing ones teeth before bedtime but rather that a mid-day indulgence is not of concern. The true villains are sticky sweets of the jelled or toffee variety.

As to fluoride in water: it occurs naturally in the groundwater in many parts of Poland where there are granite substrata. Unfortunately, much of Poland uses treated surface water (reservoirs) for its potable water source. Back in the days of the Workers Paradise there was, amongst the other environmental horrors, huge discharges of fluoride into various water bodies. As a consequence instead of concentrations of +/- 1.5 PPM of fluoride as would occur in healthy groundwater many districts were being dosed at well over 25 PPM. As a whole generation of doctors and dentists had to deal with the consequences of over-exposure, Poland will be very (overly) cautious with any controlled addition of fluoride to the water supply.

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Slepo I think you will find that the tooth protecting qualities of chocolate are lost when huge quantities of sugar are added. The ones that are "good" for you are those people don't usually eat (the 80% cocoa solids dark chocolates used for cooking). The stuff you buy in the shops in England would fall into the acidic foods ranges. Sugar is usually in front of cocoa on the ingredients lists.

The deal is that if you want to eat chocolate and sweets you should eat them at mealtimes when the mouth is already under attack. The traditional Polish diet is high in acidic foods which probably doesn't help. It's a pity because Poles have naturally quite nicely shaped teeth (unusual to see buck teeth or horsey teeth there), unfortunately they are not so nice when half are missing or decayed.

The fluoridation of water can cause health problems. The government in the UK is trying to spread it to wider areas and there are some protests against this. All the more reason for drinking bottled water.

no to fluoridation

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We bought some very good Polish chocolates made by a company called Wawel on our last visit. They came in a beautiful tin as well!

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I'm not saying that all Polish chocolates are poor quality. Wedel is my favourite Polish brand chocolate. It's just the cheaper chocolate, which isn't great. Same anywhere, probably.

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>Truely wonderful and bloody dreadful.

I hope you don't mean that from left to right

Now I'm all wound up about the idea that my local [other adjectives deleted for politeness] Tescos might have UK easter eggs. The question remains: is a box of creme eggs worth a 6-families-in-front wait at the check-out? We'll see ... .. this might be worth a late-night foray.

And as for bad teeth in young children ... my finger of suspicion points firmly at baby bottle mouth. See a baby, see a bottle with something coloured either in their mouth or propped beside them ... so many fruit/herbal drinks and rather than at the table as part of a meal, delivered in bottles so the child's teeth are drenched in sugar all day long. It'll take a few years to get the message delivered outside the city boundaries. Or maybe it wouldn't, if anyone in authority noticed/cared.

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I gave in to temptation and went to Tescos on Wednesday night ... just before 10pm. Not a sign of basic cream eggs but a selection of 3 Cadbury Easter Egg types ... Buttons, mini eggs, that sort of thing. So, yes, civilisation is coming to Poland

Popped 2 mini egg Eggs into my basket, threw in a cauliflower for good measure (impulse buy of the week) and headed for the checkouts.
And there, as I should have expected, every checkout had about 4 heavily-laden trollies patiently waiting. There wasn't an Express checkout so I just put my basket neatly on an unattended checkout and left. I refuse to buy in a shop that treats its customers like that, not even for creme eggs.

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"And there, as I should have expected, every checkout had about 4 heavily-laden trollies patiently waiting. There wasn't an Express checkout so I just put my basket neatly on an unattended checkout and left. I refuse to buy in a shop that treats its customers like that, not even for creme eggs. "

well my local tesco seems to have got rid of express checkouts in favour of self scan checkout where an annoying machine with an american accent tells you what to do. Part of what I pay in the price is for someone to do that for me....

It's funny because during communism in Poland people used to patiently stand in queues waiting to be served as there were limited supplies. These days they have it western style and wait to pay instead.

By the way Clare what you are missing is huge council tax bills (mine is now astronomical) and petrol is now £1.07 a litre in my area. They are talking about a potential us style mortgage meltdown and Boris is set to become London mayor. Maybe this is the time for me to think of moving to Poland....

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On the surface and from a distance: Boris has to be a better choice for mayor than Ken.

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I'm not clear on what he plans for the congestion charge. His website says it must be reformed and he will not introduce it, but doesn't say he will phase existing charging areas out.

he is also talking about increasing the number of psycho cyclists on the roads. If this happens then they need to have registration plates so you can report them for constantly going through red traffic lights and cycling into pedestrians, whilst at the same time being at constant war with motorists.....they seem to think they have the rights of both cars and pedestrians at the moment, basically to do whatever they please. Encouraging more people to cycle without additional regulations is a nightmare. Without a major redesign of the entire roads network in London it's bound to be a disaster.

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Whoever gets elected anywhere in Britain, to whatever office, it won't change anything I'm afraid.

I mean, one of the things Thatcher got elected on in '79 was immigration ... then running at 27,000 a year (only!!).
And she was going to reform education (she introduced GCSEs!!)

Yeah, let's see what Boris can do. I mean, at least he's nice - unlike Ken.

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Boris's answser to easing congestion in the capital appears to be changing the way traffic lights are phased. Seeing as there are many town planners already puzzling over this I'm not sure what difference can be made.

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a high profile cyclist caught breaking law on camera

this is what I mean about cycling in London. Maybe he was the one who twisted my wing mirror in a road rage attack...

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Something about Easter in Poland

Easter fervor sweeps Poland

KALWARIA ZEBRZYDOWSKA, Poland - Last year, Maria Sternal trod the hard, worn stones of the Via Dolorosa in ancient Jerusalem to sing and pray in anticipation of Easter.

This week, bundled up in three sweaters and a thick thermal coat and wearing a braid of twigs in her hair much like a crown of thorns, Sternal slogged through the mud and hills outside Krakow to take part in this country's largest Passion Play.

Sternal, 37, couldn't say which Good Friday meant more. The Holy Land was something special, she said. But so was this brisk, wind-chilled day in her homeland, in which she commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus.

"They are different but they are the same," Sternal said as a procession by Franciscan monks waded by amid a crush of worshipers. "It's all about the energy of God."

Europe may be a secular stronghold—and a challenge for churches here of every faith to maintain vibrant congregations—but the Polish countryside never fails to turn Easter into a national and religious holiday of remarkable scale.

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, the site of a four-mile path of churches, chapels and 14 stations of the cross similar to the Via Dolorosa, is a shrine that Pope John Paul II, a Pole, visited twice as pontiff. Home to a Franciscan monastery and United Nations heritage site, the town's hillsides this week packed in thousands of faithful during the final days of the Christian Holy Week.

Many Poles skipped work to take part in the annual re-enactment of the life and death of the Christian savior. Schoolchildren slept overnight outside the monastery to be sure to start their prayers at dawn.

Old women who remembered their first Communion at the Church of the Sacred Cross—modeled after the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem—pulled on rubber boots and donned fur coats to make their trek to the mountainous prayer site.

Helena Moskala, 62, grew up in the shadow of the Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. She remembers her first pilgrimage to the site, just after the age of 7. Moskala said she still comes twice a year, for different days of Holy Week and in August for a celebration of the Virgin Mary.

"There is always something to pray for," Moskala said. "And at least one of my prayers is always the same: That I am allowed to come back again for the same event next year."

The shrine was the brainchild of Mikolaj Zebrzydowski, a devout Catholic who in the early 17th Century built a single church in this hill town near Krakow. He then invited the Franciscan order to care for the church.

But Zebrzydowski was taken with the rolling Polish countryside and believed there were deep similarities to the hills of Jerusalem. So he commissioned a series of churches and chapels near the original church in the southern Polish hills to resemble, even parallel, holy sites in Jerusalem.

What became known as Kalwaria Zebrzydowska survived centuries of change, including the harsh communist rule of the last century. Today, the monastery and the grounds are recognized by UNESCO as a significant example of the Calvary movement, which produced similar religious paths in the 1600s, a time in Europe where spiritual vision dovetailed with large-scale design.

For those who climbed the hills Friday, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska offered a place for some quiet prayer and reflection in an increasingly fast-paced Poland. Some remembered when this country seemed to stop for Easter. Families lived close by and celebrated the holiday together.

Now, many Poles have families splintered across the Europe, part of an economic diaspora that took advantage of Poland's accession into the European Union. That means holidays at home are brief, intense and sometimes bittersweet. Or, as one woman explained, "now it's fast, fast, fast and you don't have time to think."

Father Zafiryn, a monk at the monastery who had spent hours in confession Thursday and Friday, said Friday was the busiest of days in a very busy week.

As many as 50 monks were hearing confessions or giving Communion, standing in the open air from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., the monk said. "It's very cold this year but, regardless, people come," he said. "You can just look at their faces and know why they are here."

Malgorzata Pasiut woke up at 3:15 a.m. to dress her 10-year-old daughter and drive from the village of Nowy Sacz to spend a day of prayer. Her daughter Ania, who once suffered epileptic attacks, has not had a seizure for five years. This Easter, she and her daughter decided to give thanks at Poland's best-known Calvary.

She was surprised at the throngs of people kneeling and praying in the chill air. "Maybe there are a lot of people with the need I have," Pasiut said. "The need of the heart."


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And as promised, here is a picture of the treasury in Petra.....

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and a first glimpse of the treasury as seen through the siq

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Very nice pictures.

Please tell us some more about your trip. It's one I've been planning to make for many years.

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Well I don't know where to begin.... From a marriage proposal from the man leading my pony, to getting lost in Wadi Rum desert and stumbling across a bedouin camp with a crazy dog and being offered a bed for the night, to going off the beaten track in petra to explore the long, winding and precarious wadi muthlim ("the little siq") and being helped find the way out by another bedouin who had followed us realising we were likely to get into a sticky situation with a blockage in the tunnel, to riding a camel for the first time in the desert, to floating in the dead sea, to standing at the top of mount nebo where Moses first viewed the promised land....well the entire trip was one amazing experience to another.

Jordan is a pretty spectacular place to visit, but also a very deprived country because of the turbulent middle eastern history and a lack of oil. It has many sites of historical interest and is very much politically stable at present so it's a good time to visit. You need a guide and an organised tour is best as it's not a country you want to try to navigate yourself if you haven't been there before. Cars are routinely stopped and searched on the highway by police or army. They are fairly relaxed but might be difficult if you don't speak Arabic.

Hans if you do go, make sure you see more than just Petra. There are so many fantastic places to visit. Dana nature reserve for example:

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By the way....did I mention it was 80F in the shade last week, whilst Britain was plagued with snow and ice...?