Celebrations galore at Irish Polish Society’s Zapusty event

by Gazette Reporter

There was plenty of fun and celebration in Fitzwilliam Place on Sunday, as the Irish Polish Society organised Zapusty – with a carnival concert of entertaining light music (popular classical music, tangos and waltzes, some film music, jazz, and more) at the Polish House.

‘Zapusty’ is an annual festival celebrated in many countries before Lent. In Poland Zapusty has been known since the early 16th century. It was always a time of public merrymaking, feasting, music, dancing, fancy dresses and masquerade balls.

Pianist Anna Kiselyova played pieces of popular classical music, mazurkas, waltzes, film music, jazz, and more. She was ‘supported’ by her talented daughter Maria, who sang and played piano, and her pupils – two Chinese kids who played four hands and were fantastic!

Traditional Polish carnival fritters faworki and doughnuts were served after the performance. It was a great evening and everyone who was there enjoyed it.

While in Ireland the seasonal parties of “eat, drink, and be merry” are celebrated before Christmas, in most of Continental Europe the ‘craic’ takes place after Christmas. In Poland the Zapusty (Polish Carnival) has been known since the early 16th century.

It was always a season of public merrymaking, feasting, dancing, masks and fancy dresses, amusements, romances, broken hearts, and hangovers. Traditionally it takes place after Epiphany, ending the night of ‘Fat Tuesday’ (Shrove Tuesday or Mardí Gras), the day marking the beginning of Lent.

Like most European customs Carnival developed from pre-Christian practices –the pagan ancient Roman festival in honour of god Saturn. The Saturnalia festivities were celebrated in mid-December and were the merriest holidays in ancient Rome.

With the arrival of Christianity the ancient Roman festival was not abolished but ‘changed’ into a Christian feast.

The Irish Polish Society organise a number of events throughout the year, and in the past few months have held celebrations of Polish Independence Day in November; a special event dedicated to Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk and the ‘Three Kings Evening’ on January 6th.

The Society celebrated its 40th anniversary last year with an Art Exhibition, which was launched by Ruairí Ó’Cuív, Public Art Officer Dublin City Council.

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