Poland waits for the weekend to enjoy throughly its summer solstice celebration: the Wianki 2011 is scheduled for Saturday, June 25 this year. In Krakow and Warsaw, audiences will enjoy international stars performing on central stages. Already a popular tradition, Krakow’s Wianki is a cultural event that’s been around, in its current form since 1992, when the Kraków City Hall took over organization. This is the modern response to the tradition of Kupala Day (Noc Kupały or Noc Świętojańska).
Kupala was once a pagan fertility rite, converted into an Orthodox Christian celebration that marks the birth of John the Baptist. The tradition is still celebrated by people all over the country, with bonfires, and water fights. The modern Wianki celebrations are still connected to the ancient pagan rites, combining the tradition of earlier St. John festivals with concerts featuring world class stars.
The Krakow Wianki is one of the largest Polish outdoor events. On an unusual outdoor scene in the bend of the Vistula in front of the Wawel Royal Castle, the audiences will enjoy a free concert by SOFA, The Poise Rite, Pablopavo, Marika and Wyclef Jean (making his appearance at 21:00 local hours). The concert will end 23:00 hours with spectacular fireworks.
Warsaw will also feature a Wianki event at Podzamcze, with concerts by Kelis, Sunrise, Wilki, and Monika Brodka.