Poland is one of the European countries where Catholics live Lent and Holy Week with the greatest intensity. Christian practices such as abstinence are so deeply rooted that even fast food multinationals have a special meatless menu on Fridays.
TEXT - Ignacio Soler, Warsaw
Krzysztof Zanussi's film, Da un paese lontanoThe 1981 film begins the story of the life of St. John Paul II with the scene of the passion play at the shrine of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, near Wadowice. The little Karol, according to the film, is astonished to see in the bar the person who has represented Christ drinking beer after the whole thing is over. The truth is that the Polish Pope was a man fascinated by the Cross, which is so much seen in Poland. For Wojtyła the Cross is Christ, and the Way of the Cross - the way of every Christian - a devotion he never stopped practicing every Friday of the year.
Lent is said in Polish wielki postwhich means "the great fast". If during the time of Lent a Christian does not do a little penance, the kind you notice, the kind you feel, you do not know when you will do it. In Poland, abstinence every Friday of the year is so popular that even non-believers live it. For example, the famous McDonald's offers a special menu on Fridays with meat-free products: instead of hamburger, there is the filet-o-fish (fish fillet). It is also necessary to mention the tradition of the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, the so called "the day before Ash Wednesday".Thursday buttery". The tradition on that day is to eat pączeka variety of the donut, a specialty of Polish pastries. The more the better.