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Lipa / Lipka / Lipka zielona
(The Green Linden Tree)
In old Slavic mythology, the linden (lipa, as called in all Slavic languages) was considered a sacred tree. Particularly in Poland, many villages are named "Święta Lipka" (or something similar), which literally means "Holy Lime". To this day, the tree is a national emblem of Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and the Serbs. "Lipa" is also the traditional Slavic name for the month of June (Croatian, lipanj) or July (Polish, lipiec, Ukrainian "lypen'/липень"). It is also the root for the German city of Leipzig, taken from the Serbian name, lipsk.
The Croatian currency, kuna, consists of 100 lipa (Tilia). "Lipa" was also a proposed name for Slovenian currency in 1990, however the name "tolar" ultimately prevailed.In the Slavic Orthodox Christian world, limewood was the preferred wood for panel icon painting. The icons by the hand of Andrei Rublev, including the Holy Trinity (Hospitality of Abraham), and The Savior, now in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, are painted on linden wood. Its wood was chosen for its ability to be sanded very smooth and for its resistance to warping once seasoned.
The village of Święta Lipka, located in northeastern Poland, is known for Poland’s oldest Marian sanctuary, famous for marvels and recoveries. The Baroque church presents a delightful interior with rich décor and a unique 18th-century organ, with moving figurines and bells.
A legend has it that in the 14th century a certain convict sculpted a statuette of the Madonna; delighted by the beauty of his work, the judges decided that he could not be a bad man. In order to show his gratitude for this pardon, he placed his statute of Virgin Mary on a linden tree. A brick stone chapel was soon built around the tree, and the place became famous for its miracles, which attracted lots of pilgrims.
The present church was built by the Jesuits in the 17th century. The Basilica of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Poland. It is famous for its very rich interior: sculptures, frescos, paintings, gold items, metal craftwork, and a valuable polychrome work which presents scenes from the life of Virgin Mary and the history of the shrine. A linden trunk with a statuette of the Madonna is situated in the place where the holy tree once stood.
A concert of the ‘moving organ’ is a truly unforgettable experience.
Warmińsko-Mazurskie Province, Kętrzyn District
- Source: www.swieta-lipka.pl
Basilica of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Uses of Linden Tree Wood
Linden trees are harvested and their wood is used for furniture, paper pulp, and children's toys. The wood has a dense grain although it is lightweight. Linden wood, also called basswood, is one of the easiest woods to carve because it has a tight grain, is soft, and does not sliver easily. There are many folktales concerning linden across Europe. In Roman and German folklore, the linden tree is seen as the "tree of lovers", and Polish folklore tells that the wood is good protection against both the evil eye and lightning. Linden blossom have been used to make a variety of items including herbal teas and a base for perfumes, as well as being known for producing tiny aromatic flowers that attract many bees that in turn produce a wonderful honey.
Polish folk music was collected in the 19th century by Oskar Kolberg, as part of a wave of Polish national revival. With the coming of the world wars and then the Communist state, folk traditions were oppressed or subsumed into state-approved folk ensembles. The most famous of the state ensembles are Mazowsze and Śląsk, both of which still perform. Though these bands had a regional touch to their output, the overall sound was a homogenized mixture of Polish styles. There were more authentic state-supported groups, such as Słowianki, but the Communist sanitized image of folk music made the whole field seem unhip to young audiences, and many traditions dwindled rapidly.
Polish dance music, especially the mazurka and polonaise, were popularized by Frederick Chopin, and they soon spread across Europe and elsewhere. These are triple time dances, while five-beat forms are more common in the northeast and duple-time dances like the krakowiak come from the south. The polonaise comes from the French word for Polish to identify its origin among the Polish aristocracy, who had adapted the dance from a slower walking dance called chodzony. The polonaise then re-entered the scene and became an integral part of Polish music.
Poland's five national dances
(Mazur, Polonez, Kujawiak, Krakowiak, Oberek), as well as modern dance, contemporary dance and ballet are all widely performed today throughout the Polonia community.
Did you know that...?
Lipa means linden, and Lipiec means July in the Polish language.
The linden tree was once sacred to the goddess of love.
When Christianity arrived, the linden tree became the Blessed Mother's refuge, and at roadside shrines, travelers still pray to her for blessings.
In Warsaw, lindens enliven parks, cemeteries and boulevards.
Lindens attract bees, which are regarded as God's servants. Bees provide mead and honey for the table and beeswax candles for churches. Many churches planted linen trees in their courtyards. At the turn of the fifteenth century, the villagers of Mazowsze passed a law condemning honey thieves and hive vandals to death.
Poles used honey from linden trees to sweeten iced coffee, make krupnik, hot vodka with honey, and bake piernik, a swmiseet honey-spice cake or piernicki, honey-spice cookies. They drank linden tea to ease cold symptoms or tame the nerves.
In some some areas of Poland, the work lipa means "white lies".