The first sign of approaching Easter is a large number of branches and dried flowers being brought to the church. One week before Easter, Palm Sunday takes place (according to Catholic tradition, the day marks Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem). Since palm trees are rare in Poland, churchgoers often bring ‘palms’ made of colorful woven dried branches.
On the Saturday before Easter Sunday, Poles paint hard-boiled eggs (called pisanki). Some use store-bought kits which make the coloring and decorating easier, others continue to make dyes in the traditional way – with boiled onion skins. Another Saturday activity is the preparation of Easter baskets: lined with a white lace napkin and decorated with branchlets of boxwood, contain pisanki, a piece of ham, salt and pepper, bread, a piece of cake and an Easter Lamb made of sugar. They are brought to church to be blessed.
On the most important day, Easter Sunday, families gather to eat breakfast. Before the meal, in a similar way as for Christmas with the sharing of the opłatek (Christmas wafer), people share wedges of the blessed Easter eggs from the basket. They exchange wishes and a Joyful Hallelujah! The breakfast is dominated by cold dishes: ham, sausages, roast meats, pâté, horseradish relish, bread and vegetable salads followed by Easter cakes: a babka – tall, round sweet yeast cake with a hole in the middle, a mazurek – cake with a fat layer of icing, decorated with dried fruit, walnuts, almonds, roasted seeds and a sernik – cheesecake.
The last festive day is Easter Monday, known as Wet Monday, on which tradition requires that boys throw water over girls and spank them with willow branches.
Martyna Krupinska a volunteer from Poland, loves traveling, hiking, and skiing.
Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth, and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing to a diverse and rich Europe.
Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.
In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.
Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.
We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.
Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.