Hejnał Mariacki / "St. Mary's dawn" / Heynal / Cracovian Hymn
The Heynal (Polish: Hejnał Mariacki, "St. Mary's dawn", pronounced hey-now mah-ryah-tskee), also known as the Cracovian Hymn, is a traditional five-note Polish tune closely tied to the history and traditions of the city of Krakow. It is played by a trumpeter four times consecutively each hour from the highest tower of St. Mary's Church (in Polish, Kościół mariacki) in Krakow.
According to a popular 20th century legend, during one of the Mongol invasion of Poland (usually the invasion of 1241), Tatar warriors approached the city. A guard on the Mariacki church tower sounded the alarm by playing the Heynal, and the city gates were closed before the Tatars could take the city by surprise. The bugler, however, was shot in the throat and did not complete the tune. According to the legend, that is why it now ends abruptly before completion.
The Krakow Heynal has become well-known throughout Poland and has been used as a symbol of the Polish nation as a whole. For instance, during World War II, on May 18, 1944, a bugler from the 2nd Polish Corps played the tune to announce the Polish victory in the Battle of Monte Cassino. Starting in 1927 and continuing to today, there is a live broadcast of the Heynal from the Mariacki church tower Krakow every day at noon on Polish national radio.
On April 3, 2005, at midday, on the day following the death of Pope John Paul II, the Hejnał Mariacki was, for the first time in its history, replaced with the mourning song "Łzy Matki" (English: "A Mother's Tears"). On April 11, 2010, at two minutes after noon, Łzy Matki replaced the Heynal for a second time, due to the death of Lech Kaczyński.
Originally played by the town guard, since the 19th century the Heynal has been performed by active members of the fire brigade, who use the church tower as a lookout post. Currently there are at least four different buglers serving in rotation at the tower. (More)