Polish Palm Sunday in Łyse (Kurpie, Poland)

Hidden in the forests of Puszcza Zielona (the Green Wilderness) in the Mazovian region of Kurpie, there’s a small village called Łyse.

Every year on Palm Sunday, the village transforms into a place full of people, music, and… colourful palms. Łyse Parish is renowned for its wonderful palm procession, with some of the paraded palms exceeding 20 feet (6 meters) in height!

With Łyse only 2 hours away from Warsaw, I’ve decided it’s high time to finally experience this event for myself – especially since it’s the first one after a 2-year break, caused by the pandemic.

Here’s the secret to a stunning palm –
Traditionally, the palm-making process starts at the beginning of Lent. A pine branch gets wrapped and decorated with bright and vibrant flowers made of crêpe paper.

Green juniper bushes, bilberry bushes and blooming willow branches are attached to the top, for extra height and a majestic look.

Creating an impressive palm is an extremely laborious project, often involving the whole family – but the efforts are well rewarded. Each year, the most beautiful palm gets a prize and recognition from everyone attending.

On that day, many locals wear their regional Kurpian costumes. The colourful palms complement their outfits beautifully.

After the palm procession, one can recharge at the Kurpian Market (‘Jarmark Kurpiowski’), full of regional food, drink and handicraft.

The delicacies that drew my attention were:
fafernuchy (Kurpian cookies), rejbak (Krupian potato babka), piwo kozicowe (juniper beer), an insane variety of local honey, breads, fermented veggies, cold meats and kiełbasa (often made with venison).

Oh, and litres upon litres of homemade nalewki (plural of ‘nalewka’, infused and aged Polish liqueurs) in every imaginable flavour: elderberry, aronia (chokeberry), hazelnut, quince, plum, young pine shoots…

I loved the general vibe of this market. It felt like buying from a neighbour, rather than a professional seller. I had a chat with a few of the vendors – some of them run local shops or sell their products to larger stores – but others prepare these homemade foods specifically for this event.

Charming DIY labels, reused jars and bottles were giving away the homemade origins of these products.

As you can imagine, I came back home with my backpack stuffed to the brim…

If you’re in Poland around Easter time, definitely consider visiting Łyse on Palm Sunday.

📌 Where? Łyse
🗺️ Address: 07-437 Łyse, Ostrołęka County, Masovian Voivodeship (Google Map)