Kraków’s traditional Easter events, the Easter Fair, Emaus and Rekąwka festivals, make a welcome return after a 2 year Covid enforced break.
Easter events summary (full details below)
7th-18th April – Easter Fair
10th April – Palm Sunday
16th April – Traditional blessing of food
17th April – Easter Sunday
18th April – Emaus Fair
19th April – Rękawka Festival
icon-day Tuesday 19th April
icon-location Krakus Mound (Kopiec Krakusa)
The Rękawka Fair takes place around Krakus Mound (Kopiec Krakusa) on the first Tuesday after Easter. Rękawka is popular with young and old alike, and is one of our favourites. It features, a mock medieval village, together with displays and battle re-enactments.
Full details of the event, including the programme, summary of displays/exhibitors, photos and video from past events etc can be found at:- Rękawaka Festival (centrum kultury Podgórze)
11.30 – The entrance of the warriors to the Krakus Mound
12.00 – The rite of lighting a fire on the Krakus Mound
12.30 – A course of warriors in full armor around the Mound
13.00 – Introducing the teams
13.40 – The staging of “Killing the Wawel Dragon alternative versions”
14.10 – Concert of the band Daj Ognia (part 1) medieval music
14.45 – Good luck for the city of Krakow
15.00 – “The Legend of the Bad Princess from Podgórze” staging
16.00 – Clash of two armies: Vistula versus invaders
17.10 – “The Legend of the Creation of the World” – staging
17.30 – Concert of the band Daj Ognia (part 2) medieval music
icon-day Monday 18th APRIL
icon-time 10:00 – 20:00
icon-location Salwator, Kraków, przy ul. Senatorskiej, Kasztelańskiej i T. Kościuszki
The Emaus festival, traditionally takes place on Easter Monday in Salwator, with a parade, and several stalls lining the street, offering a selection of food, toys and treats, arts and crafts. In recent years it was largely tacky cheap plastic toys and balloons on sale, but in a move to return to more traditional items, the new organisers are making efforts to get rid of the junk.
Emaus’ origins date back to the 12th century, and the atmosphere of a colourful fair known today was formed in the 19th century. The event then became a place where sweets and traditional folk toys were sold, including figurines, popular Easter decorations, Easter eggs and characteristic for Krakow Emaus trees carved in wood and decorated with wooden birds and colourful flowers.
In recent years, due to the flood of mass-produced toys and the blurring of many typically Krakow traditions, the indulgence has lost much of its authenticity. Instead of handicrafts, it was more common to find imported, plastic products that have nothing to do with the tradition of craftsmanship, nor with folk or Easter creativity. The event was chaotic and the goods were presented at random and inconsistent stands.
In the opinion of experts on Emaus, the tradition of artistic craftsmanship is disappearing, commercialisation prevails over cultural functions, and mass-produced items from Asia are replacing what was once the essence of the assortment of the fair.
“We want to stop the advancing commercialisation and eliminate controversial products available at the fair. I believe that it will be possible to gradually restore what has built the fame of Krakow’s Emaus over the centuries, that the historical context and tourist potential of this unique event will help us bring closer and promote Krakow’s rich cultural heritage”, explains Robert Piaskowski, Mayor’s Plenipotentiary for Culture.
Easter Fair (Jarmark Wielkanocny)
icon-day Thursday 7th April – Monday 18th April,
One of the highlights of the Easter period, the popular and colourful Easter Fair on Rynek. The Easter market consists of 65 stalls selling Easter arts and crafts, painted eggs and all things Easter, together with a programme of traditional performances.
icon-external Easter Fair Event Programme (pdf download in Polish)
• 11.00 – Solemn blessing of Easter baskets with the participation of the city authorities and the Church of Krakow
18th April 18 (Monday)
• 12.30 – competition for the most beautiful Emaus tree
• 1.30 pm – competition results
• 14.00 – Easter traditions and rites: “Siuda Baba” – Folklore Association “Regional Theatre” and “Teatr Po Latach”
Misteria Paschalia Festival
icon-day 12th-18th April
icon-location Various locations
The 19th edition of the Misteria Paschalia Festival will take place, this year under the slogan “Return to the Source” („Powrót do źródeł”). Misteria Paschalia is one of the most important early music festivals in Europe, which since 2004 has been discovering and presenting compositions related to the times of Holy Week and Easter.This year it will begin with a concert filled with psalms from Melody for the Polish psalter by Mikołaj Gomółka. The festival program also includes Davide penitente – one of the less frequently played and commented mature works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the Gesù Cristo negato da Pietro oratorio , and the Passion of St. Jan Alessandro Scarlatti. On Holy Saturday, Anna Danilevskaia, a Russian violinist, together with the Sollazzo Ensemble will take us to medieval Florence, and on Easter Sunday you will be able to listen to Symphony No. 49 “Passione” by Joseph Haydn, Exsultate, jubilate and the famous Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter”.
The festival will end with the contemporary premiere of Jacob Schuback’s oratorio Die Jünger zu Emausfrom 1778.
Additional information and the program can be found on the website of the Misteria Paschalia festival .
Traditional Easter Food Blessing
icon-day Saturday 16th April
icon-location Rynek Główny
On Easter Saturday, 16th April, as part of the Easter Fair, on Rynek, Easter food will be blessed. The Mayor of Krakow Jacek Majchrowski, the chairman of the Krakow City Council, Rafał Komarewicz and the Archbishop of Krakow, Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski, will meet for a joint celebration of Easter greetings.
Public Transport – Easter Schedule.
Changes to the Public transport timetables will take place over the Easter holidays, with some bus and tram routes suspended. Full details can be found at Easter Public Transport Schedule (www.krakow.pl)
Municipal Offices – Easter Opening Hours
On Good Friday, April 15, the Krakow City Hall will be admitting residents until 15.30. Service points for residents in shopping malls: Bronowice, Bonarka City and Serenada will work until 6.00 p.m.
On Good Friday, the PESEL number granting point for refugees from Ukraine at TAURON Arena Krakow will be open until 4 p.m.
On Easter Saturday, April 16, service points for residents in shopping malls and the PESEL number granting point at TAURON Arena Krakow will be closed.
Easter Shopping Hours
Most shops will be closed for the Easter break, with the usual exceptions of a few smal owner operated shops. Generally the opening hours will be :
UA in Kraków, have published a more detailed list of opening hours for the main shopping centres and supermarkets.
A Scot in Kraków. The founder and editor of Kraków Expats Directory, and our sister site Kraków TV www.krakowtv.pl.
David fell in love with Kraków 23 years ago, making it his home in 2011. In 2020 he was awarded the title of Kraków’s Ambassador of Multiculturalism, by the President of Kraków.
We’re always looking for interesting stories, events, characters or groups to feature. Likewise, if you’d like to join us, as a contributor, please get in touch.