Corpus Christi procession with a vast crowd of the faithful led by Krakow archbishop is held this year on Thursday 19 June. It goes from the Wawel Cathedral to the Main Market Square.
Our Lord’s statue is carried to four street altars among a shower of flower petals scattered by young girls in white first communion or folk dresses. Traditionally four altars decorated with young trees and flowers are placed along the route of the procession. The first is placed by the church of St Giles, and the other three in the Main Square. A fragment of the Gospel is read out by each of the altars.
On the first Thursday after the Corpus Christi the Lajkonik Parade takes place. It is an old traditional Polish celebration that commemorates Poland’s victory over the Tatars in 1241.
The main hero of this event is Lajkonik – a bearded fellow, dressed in oriental clothes and riding on an artificial horse. He always passes the traditional route from the imposing Norbertine Convent in the Zwierzyniec Quarter to the Main Market Square.
He is accompanied with colourful local folk bands and buskers. During his whole march which lasts around 6 hours, Lajkonik beats by mace every met passer-by for luck so do not avoid this merry man on your way!
Garlands (‘Wianki’) midsummer festival (now on Saturday 21 June) is one of the most picturesque events of the year in Krakow. In Krakow it has always started with girls floating wreaths of flowers and magic herbs with lit candles down the Vistula (Wisla) river. They were to keep evil spirits away, protect the maker from illnesses and guarantee a good marriage.
You can start your day with a breakfast on the the roof of the Tourist Information Centre by the banks of the Vistula! Polish, Oriental, Asian or Mexican cuisine, health food etc. will give you strength for the entire day!
Wianki it’s also a Fete de la Musique.- stages with classical music, folk, reggae, jazz, rock, singer-songwriter song and electronic music will be spread out across the city centre.
St. John’s Fair by the Czerwieński Boulevard held from June 20th to June 22nd offers the possibility of purchasing unique souvenirs and meeting the figures known from history books.
Master craftsmen and apprentices, musicians, courtiers, knights, merchants and warriors will come from distant lands and times.
The highlight of the day is a fireworks display upon the riverbank opposite the Royal Wawel Castle.
June ends with a famous Jewish Culture Festival in the former Jewish quarter of Kazimierz.
Exhibitions, lectures, workshops, book launches and even introductions to cuisine are held to explore and present different aspects of Judaism.
On the closing night there is a huge concert on Szeroka Street presenting klezmer and other traditional forms of Jewish folk music.