Like a carnival is a carnival!

Drzewiej used to be carnivals! The Twelfth Night ended the “holy evenings” and began the old Polish carnival. Until Lent, there was one great endless party, in which the wine flowed in streams. “Let’s make Love!” – an old Polish toast resounded from everywhere.


For centuries, the greatest rural carnival entertainment of the Polish nobility was sleigh rides. It was quite an event and it was necessary to prepare well for it every year: to determine the order of visits, to arrange accommodation in the house for an innumerable number of guests, and above all, to properly stock the pantry and cellar. Along with the darkness, the amused company galloped down to the courtyard amidst laughter and shouts. It was like a veritable invasion of locusts! Several hours of sleigh in the cold whetted the appetites of the merry crowd, so huge bowls of game, sausages, roulades, hams, cabbage and cakes disappeared from the table in the blink of an eye. Goblets were passed, more “healths” were drunk and toasts were made. And I have to admit that toasts were a truly Polish specialty! At first, only beer was served with “thick dishes”. When, after the meat, wine appeared on the table, the host started raising toasts. As the custom dictated, they could only be built with wine – usually malmazia or Hungarian wine. And because each “health” was fulfilled from a different cup, the table was full of cups, cups and glasses. They played until dawn, and then they took a short rest, ate breakfast together with dinner, thanked for their hospitality, drank and … kidnapped the hosts so that after a further crazy sleigh ride they would visit the next court. During these winter games, people drank mainly tokaj and honey or warmed up with an old Polish specialty: krupniki. Before the stirrup drink, already drunk on the threshold, porch or at the gate, was drunk, the last toast was raised. For centuries it sounded invariably: “Let’s love each other!”.


Renata Pyskiewicz – Kowalska


Developed based on:
H Szymanderska, Polish Christmas Traditions, The World of Books 2003

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