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Saturday, 28 June 2014

Wear Your Flower Crown, Lady

Dear friends,

Last weekend in Poland there was this huge and lovely celebration called "Wianki" combined with "Fete de la Musique" :) Wianki (Wreaths, in English) is a cyclical cultural event, taking place annually in Kraków at the bend of Wisła river, near the Wawel hill.
In its current form of a mass cultural event, Wianki has existed since 1992, when the patronage of this event was taken over by the Kraków City Hall. However, the tradition of organising cultural events at this spot during the summer solstice reaches back a long time. The festival was primarily a pagan religious event - Noc Kupały. After the adoption of Christianity by Poland, the tradition did not die, however, its context was changed: the night's name became "Sobótka", or "Noc Świętojańska" (St. John's Night). Some elements of the original festival remained, such as telling fortunes, letting wreaths float on water, jumping over bonfires or burning herbs. 
When Polish territory was annexed by Austria, especially after Kraków was incorporated into the Austro-Hungarian state, Wianki became a patriotic manifestation, when Wanda, the legendary princess from the legend of Prince Krak (the founder of Kraków) was commemorated. Before World War I Wianki was organised by institutions such as Polskie Towarzystwo Gimnastyczne "Sokół" ("Sokół" Polish Gymnastic Society).
After World War II Wreaths became a "light and sound" event - a large-scale open-air performance. The event was partly a dramatic show (which featured theatre plays) and a finale firework show. In the 1970s media patronage was unknown in Poland, but Gazeta Krakowska performed a form of it over the festival.
After martial law was introduced in 1981, Wreaths were not officially organised until 1992. Starting that year, the event is the largest annual cultural event, covering music and other performances, a competition for the most beautiful wreath, firework shows and other attractions
This year was in combination with "Fete de la Musique" and all over the city, the entire weekend, there were concerts with different types of music :) For years Wianki have been the greatest musical event open to the wide audience - for the young and the old, for locals as well for tourists. I had the great pleasure of spending a few hours with a dear friend and that is when I managed to catch these photos of the Wianki. I am especially grateful for the pictures of the ladies with the flower crowns ;)
Also besides the concerts, besides the music flowing throughout the city, there was the Czerwienski Boulevard - Saint John's Fair. There were plenty of attractions: horse riding shows, dancing lessons, flag juggling shows, folk games, an executioner and an inquisitor, skirmishes of knights and many more ;) Open from Friday till Sunday at dusk it was truly a sight to behold!
“There was nothing medieval people liked better, or did better, than sorting out and tidying up. Of all our modern inventions I suspect that they would most have admired the card index.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature
“Keep practicing," he told her.
"Until I get it right?" she said. But he corrected her.
"No. Until you don't get it wrong.”
― John Flanagan, The Royal Ranger
“When we see religion split into so many thousand of sects, and I may say Christianity itself divided into its thousands also, who are disputing, anathematizing and where the laws permit burning and torturing one another for abstractions which no one of them understand, and which are indeed beyond the comprehension of the human mind, into which of the chambers of this Bedlam would a man wish to thrust himself.
[Letter to George Logan, 12 November 1816]”
― Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson
 “It is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow in inexhaustible streams...Through it, God will spread His Word. A spring of truth shall flow from it: like a new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine amongst men.” - Johannes Gutenberg
“For she is a fair maiden, fairest lady of a house of queens. And yet I know not how I should speak of her. When I first looked on her and perceived her unhappiness, it seemed to me that I saw a white flower standing straight and proud, shapely as a lily, and yet knew that it was hard, as if wrought by elf-wrights out of steel. Or was it, maybe, a frost that had turned its sap to ice, and so it stood, bitter-sweet, still fair to see, but stricken, soon to fall and die? - Aragorn about Éowyn”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
These canons scared me the first time they were fired... My heart skipped a beat!
Men are April when they woo, December when they wed. Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives. ― William Shakespeare
“She wore flowers in her hair and carried magic secrets in her eyes. She spoke to no one. She spent hours on the riverbank. She smoked cigarettes and had midnight swims...”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
Lovely Maidens At The Fair :)
Love is all around you, love is there in you laughter, in your hair, love flows everywhere. Love is older than you but the light shining through makes me see your love is all new.
― Pedro Calderon De La Barca
Unfortunately I did not wear flowers in my hair but I would have loved to... Maybe next year! This year I kept busy with taking pictures and having fun with my friend - choosing which lasses looked more pretty and which had a more medieval look about them :) How about you? How was your last weekend and what are you up to in this one? Today I am having a picnic with my new work family and on Sunday I am thinking to go and see the Air Show here in Krakow. Maybe I shall bring some pictures from there as well ;) 

Yours truly,
The LadyBug In Love With Wreaths