The custom of blessing Easter palms dates back to the Middle Ages. Palms were a symbol of resurrection, they played an important role, ensuring good crops, a long life, and even... a good death. Sticking palm branches into the roof of a house or farm buildings guaranteed protection from lightning strikes or fire...
The custom of blessing food and eggs, belonging to the Easter tradition, has always been its main component. They were eaten, given as gifts, and used for magical treatments to ensure a good harvest and the success in husbandry as well as in games. In Lithuania, apart from the Easter period, a common custom was making Easter eggs on St. George’s Day (April 23), the traditionally adopted date of the first cattle grazing in spring.
This Easter egg might illustrate the roads by which the objects (including Easter eggs) arrived there in the first years of existence of the Ethnographic Museum of Seweryn Udziela in Kraków . Sometimes, entire collections gathered over the years, and sometimes only individual items were donated here—the result of social sacrifice, fascination and exploration of folklore, and sometimes accidental encounters.
On the website of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, a large group of objects referring to the period of Easter and the cult of the Passion of Christ may be found...
Easter Monday Dziad (dziad śmiguśny, dziad śmigustny or słomiak), a costume for a boy or a young man walking on Easter Monday from home to home as part of the śmigus dyngus tradition in Małopolska, in villages around Limanowa. The wooden frame, a dummy imitating a standing person.
Exhibits given to the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków by Leopold Węgrzynowicz include sculptures, paintings on glass, costumes, archival records, items related to rites... However, the Museum owes much more to Węgrzynowicz than shown by inventory sheets, which he even co-created in the first years of the Ethnographic Museum's operation, helping to catalogue and inventorise the Museum's exhibits.
The photograph shows two boys in Kraków costumes. The photo is exceptional since it presents genuine Kraków costumes from the 1860–1880 period. On the left you can see a boy turned ¾ to the left. He is wearing a light russet coat and a Kraków four-cornered hat and is holding an Easter palm in his right hand propped against the ground. The other boy, taller and clad in a similar russet coat and a hat with feathers, is standing behind the boy with his hand on his shoulder.
The sculpture, coming from the parish church of St. Sigismund in Szydłowiec, constitutes an extraordinary dramatic exhibit used during processions of going to church on Palm Sunday as to a symbol of Jerusalem. Christ, in a firmly upright position, is raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing.
Paschal Triduum: a three-day celebration of the paschal mystery, which starts with the Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday is a key element of celebrating the most important Christian Holiday, namely, Easter. The event that followed the Last Supper on Holy Thursday was Christ’s Agony in the Garden (an olive grove called Gethsemane), described by the evangelists: Matthew, Mark and Luke (Mt 26: 36-46; Mk 14: 32-46; Luke 22: 39-46). This is one of the most emotional episodes in the Gospel: here, just before being captured, the night before the Passion, Christ experiences moments of fear and loneliness (the disciples who were accompanying him fell asleep). The Saviour’s prayer expresses fear: he is terrified by the metaphorical “cup of bitterness” that he will have to drink on the day of the Passion (“O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” – hence, representations of the Agony in the Garden depicted an angel holding a cup in front of Jesus). It was this tragic scene, revealing the Messiah’s fear of death and suffering, that was one of the most popular themes found on medieval epitaphs and in cemetery chapels.