"Wianki" the Festival of Wreaths 2004

Photos by Richard P. Poremski


1.jpg
1.jpg
1,311.93 Kb
2.jpg
2.jpg
1,269.74 Kb
3.jpg
3.jpg
1,101.60 Kb
4.jpg
4.jpg
987.18 Kb
5.jpg
5.jpg
1,059.05 Kb
6.jpg
6.jpg
1,219.44 Kb
7.jpg
7.jpg
1,081.68 Kb
8.jpg
8.jpg
1,196.02 Kb
9.jpg
9.jpg
1,017.95 Kb
10.jpg
10.jpg
1,296.75 Kb


2004 Wianki Festival of Wreaths 

   This years Wianki Festival of Wreaths, sponsored by the Polish American Arts Association of Washington, D.C. on June 26, was made extra special by the extra special people who attended. PAAAs young adults branch Connections turned out in force and sponsored its own singer to give a modern twist to a very old Polish festival.  But old traditions were well represented, too, with a wonderful display in a living history encampment of Polish Hussars, courtesy of members of Boleslav Orlickis Light Artillery. 

   Members of Michas Polish Folk Dance Ensemble gave a fabulous presentation and inspired many in the audience at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool to get up and join in the dancing. A number of young women participating in the American Council for Polish Culture Youth Leadership Conference, which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary, donned white robes and flower crowns to lay the candle-and-flower wreaths on the waters of the reflecting pool. 

   Tom Brzostowki and a member of his band provided some lively polkas, and General Edward Rowny honored us with a tune on his trusty harmonica. 

   The Wianki Festival of Wreaths commemorates the summer solstice.  Polands ancient tribes always celebrated the shortest night and the longest day of the year with bonfires, games and songs.  Church authorities, however, frowned on ancient pagan rituals having to do with the worship of the sun, so the deeply rooted summer festival was transformed into one remembering John the Baptist. 

   The wreaths that are floated on water hark back to days when single women would send them sailing in hopes of determining their chances of catching a husband.  If the wreath were caught by a young man, the girl would marry soon; but if it sank, she would not get a husband that year.