Wianki Festival

Written by  //  5 June 2012  //  Culture  //  No comments

The city of Krakow is the place where many festivals, events and parades are organized each year. Many of them take place annually and constitute a big attraction for local people as well as for visitors from all over the world. One of such events is Floating of the Wreaths (Wianki) – a midsummer festival organized in June.The origins of this festival dates back to pagan times when this event was called ”Noc Kupały”. As the Christianity was adopted by Poland this traditiond continued, however, in a slightly different context. The night of celebrations was named ”Sobotka” or St. John’s Night (Noc Swietojanska). In the pagan form it included various rituals and some of them like: jumping over bonfires, burning herbs and weaving garlands and setting them afloat in the stream remained. There is also an elemnt of fortune telling related to Wianki (wreaths). It is believed that a girl whose wreath drifts to the shore will never find a husband, however, if her wreath floats downstream she will definitely get married. There is also a belief that the boy who finds a wreath will be destined to marry the girl who made it, hence boys go along the riverbanks and try to catch their girlfriends’ wreaths – it is a lot of fun. Today’s form of Wianki Festival in Kraków has existed since 1992 when the Krakow City Hall took the patronage over the event It is a large scale and very attractive cultural event. Every year well-known artists and musicians are invited to perform on a stage prepared for this festival by Vistula river at the foot of the Wawel castle in Krakow. There is also a competition – the most beautiful wreath is chosen, firework shows as well as other attractions. This festival is very popular and usually it is observed by thousands of people.