Monday, April 18, 2011

107/365: Palm Sunday in Lipnica Murowana

107/365: Palm Sunday in Lipnica Murowana

Remember how last Saturday I posted really quickly and didn't write much? It was because I was at my grandparents' place, with only cell-phone internet, and the visit was a stop on the way South to a little mountain village called Lipnica Murowana.

What's so great about Lipnica Murowana, you ask?

Well, every year, on Palm Sunday, they make these:

Here comes the Palm

Palm Sunday in Lipnica Murowana

See, we don't have palm trees in Poland, so for Palm Sunday we have to improvise.

The palms are yet another tradition borrowed from pagan culture (and Lipnica even has a church built in the 12th century in a pagan Holy Grove, with the altar set on a pillar carved with a pagan god's likeness...serious history there:

St. Leonard's church in Lipnica Murowana

The ceiling of St. Leonard's church in Lipnica Murowana

...and of course that means it's colourful, joyful, and very creative.

Firemen and Palms

Everyone wants to see

But the very special thing about Lipnica Murowana is that the village holds a yearly contest for the tallest handmade 'palm'. And it gets VERY competitive.

Raising the Palm

Above, the second-tallest palm is raised, with great care and caution. Because there are rules that make this contest exciting. No nails or other metal elements can be used in making the palms- only wood, willow, reeds, green branches and paper flowers are allowed.

Palm Sunday in Lipnica Murowana

Wires, ropes and lines from synthetic materials are also forbidden. In order to qualify in the contest, the palm has to stand upright without breaking, it has to be raised with no help from machines (hence the men in the trees guiding the lines, and those on the ground, pushing with special long forks), and the author must be able to wrap his hands around the trunk.

Raising the Palm in Lipnica Murowana

The palm in the photo above is the first prize winner, at 36.4 metres- that's almost 120 feet! I heard someone say the whole thing weighed about 600 lbs. It took about a dozen men half an hour to get it upright.

Palm Sunday

Here are some of the shorter palms, arranged around the statue of St. Szymon:

Palm Sunday in Lipnica Murowana

Palm Sunday in Lipnica Murowana

And this is me with the palms I bought. They were made by local schoolchildren:

Me in Lipnica

...and Marta who went with me, chasing off a bee:

Shoo, bee!

Here's the whole set on flickr. I took tons of photos. :

Palm Sunday in Lipnica Murowana


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