Carnival Season in Old Poland

Carnival season, also known as zapusty in Poland, is a period of time of celebration preceding the Christian season of Lent, typically starting on the Feast of the Three Kings (Epiphany) which is celebrated on January 6th, and lasting until Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.

The origins of Carnival celebrations can be traced back to the Middle Ages, where the tradition was brought to Poland from Western Europe and integrated into local customs. For a short period of time, traditional rules and social distinctions were set aside. The common people mingled with the rich, and the sinners with the clergy.

During this time, there was no shortage of fatty food and alcohol, and these were consumed without restriction! Tables – at the wealthy nobility and aristocracy served - pheasants, roast beef, ham, hare pâtés, veal stewed in red wine, geese or ducks stuffed with chestnuts, venison, poultry galantines, fish in exquisite sauces, and a large amount of vegetables - asparagus, tomatoes and artichokes. For dessert, there were layered cakes, legumes, cakes and compotes, and of course fried sweets, such as donuts, pancakes or pancakes.

In the cities, masquerade balls were often organized, and in houses - dance parties, in the countryside, music throbbed in taverns and peasant huts. Particularly popular were parades of masqueraders, which varied depending on the region of Poland.

A much-loved winter pastime for the Polish gentry was the kulig. This included a horse-drawn sleigh ride, accompanied by music. The jolly processions would move from manor to manor, pay a visit to fellow noblemen; feast and dance with them before riding away to the next home.

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