Midsummer Night at Wianki Festival, Krakow, Poland

Krakow Wianki FestivalThe Polish city of Krakow is getting ready to celebrate Midsummer Night in style in just over a month’s time.  The ever-popular Wianki Festival will mark the occasion on 26 June this year as Cracovians acclaim the summer solstice with parties, special events, bonfires and the symbolic floating of wreaths or wianki or the Vistula River.

The festival traces its roots to a peaceful pagan ritual where maidens would float wreaths of herbs on the water to predict when they would be married, and to whom. By the 19th century the tradition had become a festive event and it continues to this day.

As well as the official floating of wreaths, there will be musical performances, dignitaries’ speeches, fairs and fireworks by the river bank opposite the imposing but beautiful Wawel Castle. Poland’s top pop stars will be joined by international acts including British band Kosheen to complete a day (and night) of celebrations.

To find out more about Krakow’s Wianki Festival and the importance of midsummer go to www.wianki.krakow.pl/en

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Warsaw Air Drop – Poetry in Motion

Chapman Freeborn Airchartering has assisted in a high-profile public art project dropping bookmarks containing poetry on cities that have subjected to aerial bombing raids.  The air charter specialist’s Poland office assisted in arrangements for the Warsaw Bombing of Poems event by coordinating a MI-2 helicopter charter to drop one hundred thousand poems printed on bookmarks over the streets of the capital’s Old Town on 2 October 2009.

The poem drop took place without warning and under the cover of night, in a move that mirrored events from more than 60 years ago. Thousands of residents in Warsaw’s Old Town took to the streets to witness the spectacle and catch the bookmarks, whose poems were written in their mother tongues by Chilean and Polish contemporary poets. Warsaw was the fourth city chosen to host the Bombing of Poems.  This year the city commemorates the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII and 65th the anniversary of Warsaw Uprising.

The event has been carried out previously in three different places: the government palace of Chile called La Moneda bombed by Pinochet on 11 September 1973, the city of Dubrovnik (Croatia) shelled on 6 December 1991 by Serbian and Montenegrin forces and the city of Guernica (Basque Country, Spain) which suffered the first Nazi air-bombardment on 26 April 1937.

The idea behind the Bombing of Poems is to contrast terrifying acts of war designed to kill and injure civilians and destroy civic morale with the power of peace poems inspiring hope and forgiveness.  The next Bombing of Poems is due to happen in Berlin in 2010 or 2011.

To watch a video of the event click here

To find out more visit www.loscasagrande.org

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