CLARK — The Polish Cultural Foundation in Clark will celebrate its annual Polish Harvest Festival “Dozynki” on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. This colorful event highlights 1,000 years of Polish tradition.
The Polish American Folk Dance Company of Brooklyn, a group with a 70 year history of preserving Polish folk traditions, will lead the festival program dressed in colorful, regional costumes. They will perform folk dances and traditional couplets (humorous folk songs). There will be plenty of Polish ethnic food available as well as an assortment of Polish beers and spirits at the cash bar.
Adults and children are invited to wear Polish costumes. After the program, adults may enjoy dancing to the music of DJ Kaczynski and there will be games for children under the auspices of the Polish Girl Scouts.
The “Dozynki” or harvest celebration is said to be one of Poland’s most revered traditions. For 1,000 years in Poland, the tenant farmers presented the Lord and the Lady of the Manor with gifts and garlands of wheat and wild flowers as part of a joyous fall celebration of the harvest. Throughout Poland’s history, much importance was placed on the harvest because it represents the fruits of the farmers’ labors, as well as their ability to sustain themselves throughout the winter months.
In gratitude, the “starosta” or lord of the Manor shares food, drink and music with his tenants. A procession of farmers with their implements, presenters and dancers in regional costumes accompanied by musicians will initiate the festival.
The festival consists of two parts: processional songs honoring the harvest, which are solemn in nature and reaffirm the reverence of the tradition; and the general celebration during which the celebrants return dressed in holiday finery to sing, dance, feast and play games. “Dozynki” today serves to remind people of their inherent connection to the land and to nature itself. Without the land, both in the past and present, there is no bread or life and indeed, no cause for celebration. “Dozynki” celebrations vary from region to region.
Tickets for the festival are $ 8 adults; children under the age 12 are invited to attend free of charge.
The Polish Cultural Foundation is located at 177 Broadway in Clark, just off Exit 135 of the Garden State Parkway.
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