Corpus Christi - A national and religious holiday, a public holiday. This is not a fixed day holiday but always takes place on a Thursday usually in June but sometimes in May..
In a country like Poland where the majority of people are Catholics and most attend Mass this holiday is very popular (and visually extraordinary especially for the more secular western European visitors). This ‘holy day' was established in 1247 in Liege as the outcome of the visions of Saint Julianne of Cornillon. The first processions in Poland took place in the Kraków diocese in 1320. A traditional procession leaves the church and continues on the streets with banners, holy pictures and in the central part of the procession a priest holding The Holy Host covered by a canopy. Children at the front of the procession sprinkle flowers in front of the priest. The procession stops at four altars along the route where prayers are said and hymns are sung.
The meaning of this holy day is the worship and adoration of Christ as symbolised by the Host. It is a way of declaring in public the faith and the identity of a believer. The Church declares that on this day faith is not a private matter and that glorifying Christ is an obligation for all believers. Many people place garlands and pictures in their windows but the most decorative are the villages that decorate all the fences and streets where the procession is to take place with flowers, green leaves and sacral objects. The most important processions usually start at noon but during the day you will have a chance to join larger or smaller procession in different parts of the city as from all the churches processions are conducted throughout the day. Join the people behind the priest or just watch it from the side and you will see that when the priest passes with the Host most of the people kneel down.
Last update February 2012