One the things I am enjoying about living here in Poland the longer I am here, is learning about all of their different customs that go with the different holidays. The first year in any country that we have lived in is typically a blur and a culture shock just trying to take so much of it in.
One of the customs during the Easter holiday unique here to Poland are these palms. You see them for sale in a several stores and at the markets.
The purpose of these is that a family takes them to their Catholic church to be blessed by the priest with water and then the families take the blessed palms back to their house and they bless areas in their house. Then tradition says the palms are to be kept out all year long to ensure a special blessing on the home.
While as you know I am not Catholic but I still think these palms are very neat part of the culture here. So the other day a few friends and I got together to learn how to make these ourselves. While it is actually quite easy to make these, for us first timers it took almost an hour and half to make one(our instructors made in them in less than 30 minutes).
Several of the different Polish Easter palms that my friends made. Mine is the first one on the right.
These were the mother and daughter who showed us how to make these unique Polish items.
Here is the spread of different flowers and wheat that we had to choose from. Now all of these were picked by them from out where they live. The colored all of them by themselves with dye that you would use to color cotton.
So, let’s learn how to make this Polish Easter palms……
First up get a bunch of long grass and put it in a bunch.
Then take a roll of thread and going around the bunch several times bind it together. DO NOT break the thread on purpose(yes I accidentally broke mine once). You want to just keep the thread in one continues piece to make sure it all stays together. If you do break it no big deal, you start the new thread were it broke going about the same spot several times till it is secure again. Oh, thread color doesn’t matter as you are not going to see it anyways.
Now attach a stick to the bunch. The stick can be as long or as short as you want it.
Here is the beginning of my different items to put on my stick.
First layer was these simple greens. You take just one stick at a time and wrap your tread several times around it before adding the next stick next to it.
You keep doing this until your whole stick is covered the way you want it to be. It can be as thick or as think as you want.
My next layer was this little white flower. Now when you add flowers like this, you need to do them one at a time. As key to keeping them straight up is to wrap your thread as close to the flower head as possible.
This layer is made with these soft reed things that they dyed red. Now with these you actually put them upside down first. You want to tie the top tip of it first.
Then once the tip is secured then you bring end down and secure that end. You now have one done, keeping going until you have a layer of them.
As you can see I did a layer of red and then I did a layer of yellow ones. I then added the blue flowers. I think the little flowers are the hardest part because of having to do them one by one and being so tiny to make sure they stay up straight. Once you get the hang of it, it does get easier.
Next up, is a combination layer of wheat.
With wheat you put the stalks down just a bit then tie to the stick.
Just like the other layers you keeping going until filled. My last one finally! They said for complete fullness you will need about 16 heads of wheat.
Now you take the heads and pull them down one by one and tie them down just on the very bottom like this one where my thumb nail is.
Are these not pretty? These flowers where my next layer and my hardest as they were very flimsy.
To cover up my yellow flower mess, I did a layer of these green reeds. Just like the other reeds, you do the top of them first then flip it over and tie the bottom part. For a twist she had me tie the end over to the side instead. Then the next one went in the middle of the previous one.
By now my hands are hurting from holding this stick tightly, so it calls for something that is going to take lots of room on my stick to make it go quicker. I got the longest heads of wheat I could find to do this layer. My other layer of wheat where a lot smaller so took not a lot of room. I tied these as close to the bottom as possible and as close to the previous layer to make sure you cover the previous thread.
As you can see since these are longer they are cover a lot more of the stick. YEAH!! Once I got 16 of them tied on the stick I once again pulled them over and secured the tops down one by one.
I added a few more layers of things and then I was finished. Once you are done, you take 2 pieces of the reed things or anything else is very bendable and tie the end of them at the same time.
Then wrap around the ends around your last layer.
Then tie the thread SEVERAL times around the ends of those final 2 pieces. Then you can finally cut the thread.
Not to bad for my first time.
To make sure everything stays together, put some thick glue on just on the bottom end of your final wrap around.
After the glue dries, cut your ends so they are all even.
As you can see the bottom is not completely pretty so now if you have bigger dried flowers you can glue them on the bottom.
My finished Easter palm here with “Flat Dallis.” In the US many students mail these poster-board cutouts of themselves to family and friends for them to take pictures and do a little journal talking about their adventures. A friend of mine has a daughter who is doing this for school, so she mailed me hers. So “Flat Dallis” will be doing a few adventures with me over the next couple of weeks. Can you guess where “Flat Dallis” is from?
And that is all that it takes to make Polish Easter palms! I have been learning a few other Polish Easter traditions the past few weeks, so stay tuned to learn a few more over the next week.
What is one of your favorite Easter traditions?