27th Jewish Cultural Festival

There aren’t many Jews left in Krakow since the war.  Around 200 reside in Krakow today as opposed to the 68 000 that was here before at the turn of the 20th century.  So why have a Jewish festival in a city with so few jews? The idea is to re-introduce jewish culture to a place where it once richly thrived.

Starting today and all week long Jewish workshops, seminars,  art shows, theater, tours, and most of all music will be held all around the city.  This year a new site for the opening party was settled upon; the Hala Targowa.  Tonight the music begins at 6:00 pm, in an old Jewish market house the Mahane Yehuda.

The main event of the festival, as always, is held next Saturday; Shalom on Szeroka street, or as some call it ‘Jewish woodstock.’  For one night a year Szeroka is cleared of all its restaurant terraces and parked cars and a stage is set-up in front of the Old Synagogue.  Starting at 6:00 pm and going to the last man standing or swaying.

If you’re in Krakow you will not want to miss this.

For more info check out http://www.jewishfestival.pl/en/

May 3rd Consitution

May 3rd, 1791 is the date of the 2nd oldest constitution in the world after the United States and the first modern constitution in Europe.  As a result, May 3rd is a holiday in today’s Polish Republic.  On this day the entire country flies the red and white colors of the Polish flag.  To the point where May 2nd has become known as flag day.  Poland is the only country I know of that constructs its buildings with the foresight of May 3rd.  As most buildings have a flag pole installed on them.  Even Krakow’s 15,328 seated Tauron arena will be covered in red and white LED bulbs.  On this day we remember Polish soldiers that fell for the country.  In Krakow, after holding a mass at the Wawel cathedral a military parade walks through the old town to the tomb of the unknown soldier on Plac Matejki, one of the first stops on our city bike tour.  It is there that high-ranking government and military officials speak to the people about the importance of this day in Polish history. At 5:00 PM in the main square songs of a patriotic nature will be sang and taught. Alongside all these events a patriotic tram will be decorated in Poland’s colors and rolling around the city full of singers of more patriotic songs.  Even if you’re not polish you will find the energy in the country will be a little elevated on this day, as we are proud to be Polish.