Wesołego Alleluja = Happy Easter!
POLISH EASTER GREETINGS
By Robert Strybel, Polish/Polonian Affairs Writer
In many languages things are pretty straightforward as you will see below. Easter goes under different names but usually the greeter simply wishes others “a “good” or “happy” one. But Poles have always been great individualists, and this field is no exception.
The traditional Easter greeting is “Wesołego Alleluja”, and Poles are probably the only ones to use that particular formulation. As a banner or inscription on an Easter egg or the top of a mazurka cake the word “Alleluja” alone is sufficient. (Incidentally this word comes from Hebrew and means “Praise God!”)
On olden times and occasionally still today, the Easter greeting is a two-way exchange with the greeter saying “Chrystus Zmartwychwstał” (Christ is risen) and the person being greeted responding: “Prawdziwie zmartwychwstał!” (Truly He is risen). That calls to mind Poland’s familiar, responsorial Catholic greeting: “Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus” (Praised be Jesus Christ) – “Na wieki wieków. Amen!” (Forever and ever. Amen.)
In modern-day parlance the simple “Wesołych Świąt” (happy holidays) is widely used. If you think that means “Merry Christmas” you’re right. To specify which holidays are meant (although the time of year is the obvious determinant), one can elaborate with “Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia” at Christmas, and “Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych” at Easter. It should be emphasized, however, that in Poland “Wesołych Świąt” at Christmas or Easter is simply convenient shorthand and does not suggest the kind of anti-religionism small but militant secularist groups are trying to foist on the rest of the US .
Should you want to string a Polish Happy Easter banner across your front porch, living room, the church front or the hall where your parish święconka is being held, your best bet would probably to stick to the simple and easily pronounceable: WESOŁEGO ALLELUJA! If you want to send someone Polish Easter greetings in a card or letter, you could write: “Kochanej Babci życzymy dużo zdrowia i obfitych łask Bożych z okazji Święta Zmartwychwstania Pańskiego.” Those particular wishes are addressed to Babcia (grandma). To other females simply replace the “Babci” with: Mamusi (mom), Cioci (auntie), Siostrze (sister) or Kuzynce (female cousin), Sąsiadce (neighbor lady), Pani Elżbiecie/Eli, Barbarze/Basi, Annie/Ani, Katarzynie/Kasi or Krystynie/Krysi, Marii/Marysi. (Note: The first form given is the standard formal version of the name: Elizabeth, Barbara, Anne, Catherine, Christine, Mary or Marie; the endearing from has been provided after the slash: Liz, Babs, Annie, Katie, Chrissie [Mary lacks a common form of endearment in English].)
To male recipients of your Easter greetings use the forms: Kochanemu Tatusiowi (dad), Dziadziowi (grandpa), Wujkowi (uncle), Bratu (brother), Kuzynowi (cousin), Sąsiadowi (male neighbor), Panu Edwardowi/Edziowi, Stanisławowi/Stasiowi, Józefowi/Józkowi, Andrzejowi/Andrzejkowi, Janowi/Jankowi, Krzysztofowi/Krzysiowi.
Less solemn greetings, often preferred by younger Poles include “Wesołych Świąt, smacznego jajka i mokrego dyngusa” (Happy Easter, a tasty egg and a wet Easter Monday), and there is even the humorous “Wesołego Jajka” (Happy Egg).
In our multi-cultural American setting, there may be occasions to add Easter greetings in some other language as well. For instance, it might be a nice brotherly gesture for a Polish parish located in our near a Hispanic neighborhood to drape trilingual greetings across its façade: HAPPY EASTER + WESOŁEGO ALLELUJA + FELICES PASCUAS!
Here are common Easter greetings in the languages of a few other nations with whom Poles have traditionally lived at close quarters in America and with whose representatives Pol-Ams have been most likely to intermarry. Italian: Buona Pasqua; German: Frohe Ostern; French: Joyeueses Pâques; Lithuanian: Su Šventom Velykom; Czech: Veselé Velikonoce; Slovak: Milostiplné prežitie Veľkonočných sviatkov; Hugarian: Kellemes Húsvéti Ünnepeket; Ukrainian: З Великодніми святами (English transcription: Z Velykodnimy Svyatamy); Russian: С праздником Пасхи (English transcription: S prazdnikom Paskhi).