After three years of planning, World Youth Day 2016 begins this week in Kraków. Organizers expect the event will draw more than two million people from around the world. Poland’s archdioceses and dioceses have pledged to offer accommodations for over 373,000 foreign visitors. The festive gathering of youth and young adults represents the chance to share in prayer, worship, and a celebration of the Catholic faith. From Pope Francis to dancing nuns, Catholic leaders will welcome everyone in attendance.
Poland won its third soccer match towards the Euro Cup 2016 trophy, changing the team from “underdog” to “one of the ones to watch.” Today’s score: Poland vs. Ukraine: score 1:0. The American press has given the European match zero news coverage, which I understand somewhat. Soccer isn’t the biggest sport here, and the US is not participating. Thank goodness for the Internet.
After today’s match, Poland is one of the top four teams out of a slate of 24. The other three top teams are Croatia, Germany and France. I find myself getting psyched for the next game.
*Update – On June 25 Poland beat Switzerland!!!
Today, a growing resurgence of Jewish life in Poland shines bright against the past dark decades of a nearly vanished community. As an observer and researcher, I’m still amazed at how many times current news outlets vehemently voice blame to all of Poland for Nazi crimes, with no middle ground or recognition given for the death of three million Poles from the Nazi genocide. Clearly, strong feelings of documented historical wrongs and biases influence modern-day attitudes. But this is 2016, not 1939, and the growing and vibrant modern Jewish life in Poland is supported by facts and celebrated on many active Facebook pages and social media discussions. Hopefully, the resurgence is leading towards a renewed attitude of peaceful co-existence.
The Krakow Christmas market Opened Friday November 27, and will run through December 26. Over 80 stalls are set up in the Main Market Square of Krakow. Shoppers have the opportunity to choose from regional souvenirs, and sample hot food as well as the local specialty, mulled wine (grzaniec galicyjski). A real highlight of the week will be the annual Nativity Scene Contest, a tradition that dates back to 1945.