Showing posts with label Poland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poland. Show all posts

Travel with Books at Home Product Reviews

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of this book free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Do you love to travel? Or do you dream of traveling without hassles? We love to explore the world from home with dreams of someday getting to see more of it. For now we like to explore with books and posters and such to see and learn about the world without leaving home. Candlewick Press has some products that makes this really fun and easy. The first three books are from a series called Panorama Pops. We got to explore The Louvre, Australia and Venice in this form. It was so much fun. These books are like pocket guides with pop-up pictures. The book is double sided since it folds out and has the pop-ups on both sides.

Easter Around the World Germany, Hungary, Norway and Poland

Have you entered my current giveaway yet?

Today we explore Easter in parts of Northern Europe. We will explore Germany, Hungary, Norway and Poland. The other day we explored Sweden and we have also explored France, Spain and Portugal.

Easter Fire
Easter Fire in  Göttingen Source: By ElHeineken (Own work)
[GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In Germany Good Friday is known as Quiet Friday. The church bells are not rung on Quiet Friday. People make wooden rattles to call people to church. On Saturday the children light huge bonfires. They burn wood and rubbish that they collect from house to house. On Easter, many villages hold an Easter walk or ride in memory of the walk Jesus took with His disciples after His resurrection. In one procession there is a rider dressed as Saint George on a white horse and in another men on horseback gallop past a post shaped like a cross and the winner is presented a cake shaped like a horse. On Easter Sunday, the children look for eggs in the garden. The eggs are made of chocolate, candy or decorated hens' eggs. Some believe the Easter hare hid the eggs for the children. The Easter hare brings the eggs in a small wheel barrow. 

Hase mit Ostereiern (1)
Easter Hare with Eggs Source: By Gerbil (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sprinkling in Hungary Source: By Opusztaszer (Own work)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
In Hungary, Easter is a two day holiday. Its observance is part Christian and part folk. The main difference is the ritual of sprinkling.On Easter Monday boys and young men visit their female relatives and neighbors and friends. In the past boys would playfully drag the girls to the well and pour water on them using pails or take the girls to the river and drench them. Now the boys sprinkle cologne rather than water so the girls do not have to change after every sprinkling. The girls no longer wear the traditional folk clothes but wear their casual clothes. There is a competition among the girls to see who gets sprinkled the most. In the evening the celebrations come to an end with a traditional Easter feast of baked ham and boiled eggs.

Norwegian Eggs Source: By: Pål Berge
In Norway outdoor sunrise services are common on Easter morning. Children will often gather big bouquets of flowers to decorate the houses. It is spring and daffodils and tulips are often in bloom. The children also have painted egg contests and egg rolling contests. In egg rolling they either blow the egg or push it with their nose. Similar to children in Russia, Norwegian children play egg tapping. They tap their eggs together and see whose can survive the longest uncracked. It is also a tradition in Norway to leave a special brew outside the house on Maundy Thursday. This is to keep the witches away, which people in remote areas used to believe in similar to the Swedish traditions. One unique tradition in Norway is at Easter time Norwegians read detective novels and watch detective shows on television. This tradition has become known as Easter Crime.

Drowning Marzanna in Poland includes Burning Them First
Photo taken by Meteor2017 Source

In Poland on the fourth Sunday of Lent people dress in traditional costume and gather on the riverbanks. They bring stuffed dolls that are called Marzannas. Some will be made of straw and others rag dolls. The dolls are dressed in traditional clothes. They form circles and sing songs about winter ending and warm weather coming. They throw the dolls into the river to symbolize the death of winter. In some parts they burn the dolls first as pictured above. In some parts of Poland people feel it is unlucky to speak or look back and rush home. They also have the belief that a trip or fall on the way home may mean they will die within the year. Nowadays it is a more lighthearted event and often is celebrated as part of school.
Palm Sunday in Poland
Palm Sunday in Poland Source: I, Mathiasrex [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Holy Week begins and it is called Wielki Tydzien. For Palm Sunday, people carry pussy willows or decorated branches like the ones above to church. In some churches they are thrown on the floor for the priest to walk over. On Good Friday the churches display a model of the tomb where Christ was buried. People go from church to church to admire the artistry. On Saturday they bring a basket of food to the church to be blessed. The baskets hold pisanki or painted eggs, a lamb made of sugar or straw, bread, sausages and cakes.

Veľkonočný košík
A Blessing Basket Source: By J.Dncsn (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
On Easter Sunday the boys run through the streets setting off explosives. The noise resembles the noise of the stone rolling away from the tomb. Since Easter morning ends the Lenten fasting, people enjoy a breakfast of eggs, meats and cakes after church. On Easter Monday or Dyngus, the boys practicing sprinkling similar to Hungary. The girls however sometimes give the boys a dyngus or ransom for the promise not to be thrown in the water. The ransom is Easter eggs or candies. People who get wet in this way are suppose to have good luck and a good harvest and it also means the boy likes her.


For this post, I used information from the books above. For more Multicultural and Easter Posts check out:

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Raisel's Riddle

This week we are traveling back to Poland for another Jewish Cinderella story. Earlier this month we reviewed The Way Meat Loves Salt. So for the history and information on Poland, please go to that post. 
Polish Flag (Source)

Today's book focuses on the Jewish holiday, Purim. Now Purim is a celebration of when Queen Esther saved the Jews from death in Persia. For those who are Christian the Book of Esther is in the Christian Bible as well in the Old Testament. I have had the pleasure of teaching this unit in Sunday School twice now. 

The story of Esther is she lives with her uncle (in some versions he is her cousin), Mordecai in Persia. They are Jewish. Mordecai is a guard/gate keeper at the palace of King Ahasuerus (King Xerxes in some versions). At some point the king becomes angry with his queen and throws her out of the land after the suggestion of his aid, Haman (the villain of our story). Now the king needs a new queen so he send out his army to bring back all the beautiful eligible maidens in Persia so he can choose one as his new queen. Esther is taken. Mordecai warns her not to let anyone know she is Jewish and in fact in some versions it is said this is when her name became Esther. Anyway, Esther is chosen as the new queen. While she is queen, Haman convinces the king to sign a decree to kill all the Jews in Persia. Mordecai gets word to Queen Esther that she must do something to stop this and even though it is against the law and punishable by death, she goes to the king without being invited after fasting for three days. She invites him and Haman to a feast. At the feast she invites them again the next night. Finally she tells the king that someone wants to kill her and all her people. When he asks who, she tells him it is Haman since she is Jewish. Haman is ordered to death by the king and all the Jewish people are saved. 
Hamentaschen (Source)

This holiday is celebrated usually in March. Since the Jewish calendar is different than the Gregorian calendar most commonly used today, the date actually changes each year. This year it was celebrated at the end of February. The holiday is celebrated with costumes (often like the people in the story of Esther) and noise makers called gragers used whenever Haman's name is mentioned. The story is retold during the celebration. It is also custom to send food and drinks as gifts as well as give to charity during Purim. Another custom is making triangular cookies filled with jam called hamentaschen. (Source

Now onto our book. This week we are looking at Raisel's Riddle by Erica Silverman. In this story Raisel lives with her grandfather in a small village in Poland. He is a scholar and many people in the village seek his advice and pay for it with food, fire wood, etc. She asks her grandfather to teach her to be a scholar. He tells her that learning is more valuable than rubies and gold since it can never be taken away from you. One cold winter her grandfather dies. She leaves the village since she does not want to be a burden on anyone and goes into the city to look for work. After knocking on many doors she comes to the house of a rabbi. The cook answers the door and tries to turn her away, but the rabbi comes to the door and says that the cook/housekeeper could of course use some help. The cook is not happy about it and is worried Raisel is after her job. She treats her badly and gives her some straw to sleep on behind the stove. Raisel grins and bears it.
One day Raisel is carrying firewood and the rabbi's son bumps into her and causes her to drop the wood. He stops to apologize and helps her carry the wood to the kitchen. The cook is very upset that she talked to the rabbi's son and threatens to lock her in the pantry if she cannot stay out of sight.
Haman, Mordecai, Esther and King Ahasuerus

On the day of Purim, the rabbi and his family have company over for a feast before going to the Purim Play. While serving the food Raisel hears the young women telling the rabbi's son riddles. She wants to stay and listen more but the cook pulls her into the kitchen threatening her again. When all the dinner guests leave for the play, Raisel comments how she would like to go. The cook laughs at her and tells her to get her dinner from what is left and then to start on the dishes. Raisel takes her dinner outside where she sees an elderly woman who looks extremely hungry. Raisel gives her dinner to this woman. The woman tells her she will grant Raisel three wishes for her kindness, but to remember magic only lasts until midnight. Raisel wishes for a Purim costume and then a horse drawn wagon to go to the play. 

Raisel turns heads as she walks into the play. She is told she has the best Queen Esther costume in the room. After the play a band starts up and the rabbi's son comes over to talk to Raisel. When he asks where she lives, she realizes he does not recognize her as the rag girl from his kitchen. She avoids answering by telling him a riddle which she makes up based on what her grandfather said about learning. Then she hears the clock to start striking midnight and she rushes away. When she gets back to the house and sees the huge pile of dishes and pots and pans she makes her third wish to have the kitchen clean.

The next day she notices people coming over again and asks the cook about the company. Since she used the term "we" in asking, the cook locks her in the pantry. In the pantry there is only one ray of light coming in and it is from a hole to the dining room. She is able to see and hear everything going on in there. The Rabbi says that his son met a woman who told him a riddle the previous night and that is the woman he wants to marry. All the young woman come forward telling him their riddles again, but none of them are the one. He finally says how it had rubies and gold and forever in it. Raisel realizes it is her riddle and knocks on the door as loudly as she can. The son comes in and asks the cook what is going on and the cook says the rag girl is cleaning the pantry, but Raisel tells him she told him a riddle the previous night. He lets her out and she begins the riddle and he finishes it and then asks her to marry him. Her response is only if he can answer her riddle. He of course knows it is learning. They get married and live and learn happily ever after.

For our crafts this week I made our clothespin doll with her dressed as Queen Esther. I also shared the cardboard tube characters Hazel made in Sunday School when we studied Esther. If we have time I may make some hamentaschen with Hazel, but since we were too busy celebrating Easter today, we did not get around to it.

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--The Way Meat Loves Salt

In honor of Purim (a week late, but we were still celebrating Black History Month), we are looking at a Jewish version of Cinderella. This one takes place in Poland.
Map of Poland
A short bit about Poland and then some on the Jewish history in Poland. Poland is in Europe and is officially the Republic of Poland. It is the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. Poland has a population around 38.5 million people making it the 34th most populous country in the world. The establishment of the Polish state is often identified with its ruler Mieszko I adopting Christianity in 966.  The kingdom of Poland was established in 1025. Over six million Polish citizens died in World War II. (Source)
Poland's Flag (Source)

Poland is a democracy with a president as its head of state. The president is elected by popular vote every five years. The government structure is centered on the Council of Ministers which is lead by the Prime Minister. In 2011, Prime Minister Donald Tusk became the first prime minister in Poland to ever be re-elected for a second term. (Source)

The history of Jews in Poland dates back over a millennium. For centuries Poland had the largest and most significant Jewish population in the world. This was due to religious tolerance and social autonomy.  During World War II, Nazi Germany managed to nearly completely destroy the Jewish Community in Poland. During World War II nearly three million Polish Jews died. Although Nazi Germany occupied Poland during the war, there was very little Polish collaboration with the Nazis. So Poland went from being thought of as the most tolerant country and being called "Paradise to Jews" to housing six concentration camps during the Holocaust including Auschwitz. (Source)

Now onto our book.  This week we will be looking at The Way Meat Loves Salt by Nina Jaffe. This is one of two Jewish Cinderella stories I found and will be sharing with you. This story starts with describing a rabbi's family of three daughters. The oldest becomes very good at needlework and enjoys making challah covers. The middle daughter loves to sing and spends the day singing. The youngest daughter, Mireleh, is a dreamy girl and often daydreams looking out the window. When her father comes home she runs out to greet him every night.
Challah Bread (and dough)
One day the rabbi is wondering how much each of his daughters loves him. This thought is troubling him and when he goes home he asks each one. The oldest tells him she loves him like diamonds. The middle daughter says like silver and gold. Mireleh tells him she loves him the way meat loves salt. He is very insulted by this and kicks her out of the house. She wanders off out of their small town and meets a man with a long white beard and two pieces of wood on a road.

This man tells her not to worry and advises her to go to the home of Rabbi Yitskhok ben Levi of Lublin. Before she leaves he gives her the smaller of his sticks and tells her to tap it three times and state what she wishes and it will appear. He gives her his blessings and then disappears. She finds the house of the rabbi. He and his family (wife and son) try to find out what is wrong, but she is too upset to talk and just weeps. They decide to let her stay in the attic since she looks homeless and poor. The next day the family goes to the synagogue. When they return home Mireleh overhears them discussing the wedding they will be attending the next day and that they must leave her home. She watches them leave and then runs to the attic and taps her magic stick asking for a gown and appropriate accessories to attend the wedding and she heads off to it. When she arrives the ceremony is over and the reception is going on. The rabbi's son asks her to dance. She does, but will not talk to him or even tell her his name. They dance all night until the rabbi's son sneaks off to think about how to get her to talk. When she leaves he has left tar and pitch on the step and she loses a slipper. He then takes the slipper through all the villages and towns looking for the girl it fits. Of course he does not find her.

He returns home and tells his parents how he cannot find her, but he wants to marry her. Mireleh asks to try it on and he becomes a bit angry with her, but she grabs it and pulls out the matching slipper. Than she runs upstairs and puts on the gown. Now he is very confused and does not know what to do. That night the prophet, Elijah (the old man that advised Mireleh), visits the rabbi and his wife in their dreams and tells them that their son must keep his word of marriage to Mireleh. 

The next day, Mireleh takes the son to the attic and shows him the stick and its magic explaining that she was blessed when it was given to her. Realizing she has been blessed, he decided to marry her. They plan the wedding and while the cooks are preparing the wedding feast Mireleh goes and tells them not to add any salt to any of the dishes.

The Jewish wedding takes place under the huppah and the groom steps on the glass and the guests all yell Mazel Tov. Then at the reception Mireleh wonders among the guests to make sure they are all happy. She greets one in the darkness who looks unhappy. He is a rabbi from a small town. He mentions that the food does not taste good--it is missing salt. She reminds him how he threw her out of his house when she said she loved him like meat loves salt. At that they embrace and her family joins them. All is forgiven and they are happy they were happy to have the family reunited. Then Elijah makes another appearance blessing the happy couple. He disappears again before Mireleh can thank him.
So our crafts for this book besides our clothespin doll include some coloring pages which we used water color paints on and we decided to do some salt painting. We started by making a design with white glue and then sprinkling salt on it. We basically followed the instructions that were shared at a Sharing Saturday a few weeks ago by Making Boys Men. However, I do not think we let it dry enough because we had trouble painting the salt. Then I remembered someone doing it with food coloring, but wasn't really sure where or if I had really seen it. I pulled out our food coloring and we loved watching the drops spread through the salt.

The top one was mine which was the title of the book and that it was a Jewish Polish Cinderella. The bottom one is Hazel's which is just a design. We really enjoyed making them!

Here are our links to the coloring pages:
I have not been doing my form for the last few Cinderellas. Is anyone missing them? If so, let me know and I'll do them.