Czestochowa Local Customs

  • Pilgrims
    Pilgrims
    by briantravelman
  • Pilgrims Pass Through Janow
    Pilgrims Pass Through Janow
    by briantravelman
  • Pilgrimage To Jasna Gora
    Pilgrimage To Jasna Gora
    by briantravelman

Most Recent Local Customs in Czestochowa

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo

    Black Madonna

    by briantravelman Written Jan 31, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Black Madonna

    The Black Madonna of Czestochowa, is the most sacred religious icon in Polish Catholicism, and one of the most sacred religious artifacts in the world. It sits on a closely guarded altar in the Jasna Gora Monastery.
    People who don’t know the legend of the Black Madonna, think the painting is depicting Jesus and the Virgin Mary as blacks, and I’m not gonna lie, before this trip, I thought the same exact thing.
    Here is the real story of the Black Madonna.

    The painting is believed to have come from Jerusalem, and brought here in 1382 by Hungarian Pauline Monks, who also founded the monastery.
    The painting depicts the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. They were never meant to be depicted as Blacks. In fact, the original painting depicted them as Whites, but a fire actually caused the painting to change pigment. Legend says that the holy icon actually saved the church from a fire.
    In 1430, Hussite knights stormed the monastery and took the painting, along with several other relics. The legend goes, that after putting it in their wagon, the Hussites tried to get away but their horses refused to move. They threw the portrait down to the ground and one of the plunderers drew his sword upon the image and inflicted two deep cuts. When the robber tried to inflict a third cut, he fell to the ground and squirmed in agony until his death.
    Several artists have attempted to repair the cuts, but couldn't. The two cuts can still be seen on her face today.
    Today, the Black Madonna remains Poland's most important and holiest religious icon. Thousands of devout Roman Catholics come here everyday to pray to the painting, and some have even hung medallions of body parts they claim to have had cured, by the Black Madonna‘s power. From early July, all the way up until August 15, millions of pilgrims make their way to the monastery from all around Poland for the same reason.
    Seeing this painting, and seeing people praying to it, and crawling on their knees to the alter actually made me cry. It was just so beautiful and powerful to see how important this painting is to the Polish people. You may not shed a few tears, like I did, but it is impossible to see this painting, and not feel “something”.
    Several copies of the painting exist world wide.

    Most of the time, the painting is kept behind steel bars. It is only unveiled once a day.

    Photography and video is allowed, as long as you don’t use a flash, and you don’t plan to make money off of the images. Technically, you’re not even supposed to publicize any pictures or footage you take, but it’s not like they can enforce that rule. Weirdest part was, they let me photograph and film the real one, but not a fake one.
    If you plan to take photos or video, be respectful and kneel while doing so.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo

    Pilgrimages To Jasna Gora

    by briantravelman Written Jan 31, 2014

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pilgrimage To Jasna Gora
    3 more images

    Poland is one of the most religious countries in the world, with about 80% of the population, being observant Roman Catholics.

    Every summer from early July, all the way up until August 15, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over Poland, make their way to the Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa. Some from the coastal cities, start late June. The biggest pilgrimage is on August 15, during the Feast of the Assumption, but some people prefer to take theirs earlier, when it’s less crowded.
    In the Roman Catholic tradition in Poland, every person must make at least one pilgrimage to Jasna Gora during their lifetime. The Poles making a pilgrimage to Jasna Gora is like the Muslims making a pilgrimage to Mecca.
    Some really devout Catholics, crawl the last few miles to the monastery, on their knees, or on their stomachs. The purpose of the pilgrimage is to pray to the painting of the Black Madonna, which I will talk about in another tip.

    These groups were passing through the tiny village of Janow as they do every year. Some of them had been walking for over a week. I managed to stop the last group that passed through and get an interview for my travel documentary. They were from Rzesow, and they had been walking for one week, and would arrive in Czestochowa, the next day.
    The pilgrimages actually started the very week we left for Greece, so I was afraid that I had missed them, so I was extremely surprised and thrilled to see some passing through just a day after we returned. I got really lucky, because these were the last few groups that were passing through. No more passed through until after I left. As soon as I saw them, I changed into my travel clothes, grabbed my camera, slipped on my slippers, and ran outside. Those moments are always the best.
    I was actually thinking about joining one, but didn't have time, but just seeing it was a truly amazing experience.
    It’s even more fun for the locals, because they like to camp in people’s yards, so it’s a really good way to meet people. My aunt said, she’s had a few camp in her yard. It’s also fun to wave to them, as they walk by. They were singing, and looked like they were having fun, even though it was raining.
    It’s the one time of the year, that actually brings Poles from all different regions together, and makes them forget their difference. It’s truly an emotional and touching experience. It's moments like this, that are one of the biggest reasons I travel. I gotta go on one of these. What an experience.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • elpariente's Profile Photo

    Devoción

    by elpariente Written Nov 10, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The devotion and faith to the Black Madonna is awesome
    One example is the people that with all respect goes around the Virgin´s altar , walking on their knees

    La devoción y la fe ante la Virgen Negra es impresionante
    Una muestra es la gente que con todo respeto da una vuelta alrededor del altar en que está la Virgen , caminando de rodillas

    Was this review helpful?

  • gosiaPL's Profile Photo

    MY OWN PILGRIMAGE...

    by gosiaPL Updated Jul 16, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Along the pilgrims route...

    I went on the August pilgrimage when I was still a student in 1987. Frankly, I didn't plan it at all...

    I was on a private visit to Cracow when a Franciscan father, whom I had just met, asked me to go on the pilgrimage to serve as a translator for a group of Americans that were gonna join his group. I had two days to return to Warsaw, do my laundry, repack my backpack, and get on the train back to Cracow. And I never regretted it!

    OK, I know, I know... the walk from Cracow is a piece of cake, just 7 days ;-)
    But you meet wonderful people on the pilgrimage, and the locals along the way go out to the road to serve you food and drink, they wave and say hello, they ask you to take their prayer intentions to Jasna Gora, and they put you up for the night ... all for nothing, no cost at all!

    I have one photo somewhere... I'll download it when/if I find it... This one is the Sunflowers painting by Jacek Malczewski - a view that you can often see along the pilgrim's route.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo

    Pilgrimage to Czestochowa

    by mikelisaanna Written May 13, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Every August, thousands of Catholics from all over Poland make a pilgrimage to Czestochowa in which they walk for days and sleep in fields and barns until they reach the Jasna Gora Monastery. The culmination of the pilgrimage is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15th, when the pilgrims attend a huge outdoor mass in the field outside the monastery.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • magor65's Profile Photo

    Nativity scene

    by magor65 Updated Jan 10, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    nativity

    Every year around Christmas there is a nativity scene displayed on Jasna Gora. Some animals, like llamas or donkeys, are taken for this time from the ZOO to help create the atmosphere and make the place more attractive for children. But, of course, the most important place is the crib with little Jesus. Everybody wants to stop there for a while but the crowds, especially on Christmas and Boxing Day are so big, that you can just catch a glimpse and must go on.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • gosiaPL's Profile Photo

    PILGRIMS GO ON FOOT...

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 28, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Thousands in the Virgin Mary Avenue

    The true-style pilgrimage is done walking... Pilgrims from all parts of Poland start on different dates so as to arrive to Czestochowa the day before the Feast of Assumption (August 15). There are over 50 walking routes throughout the country. Imagine those who walk from Szczecin in the far north-east... They have like over 600 km (375 m) to cover in probably up to 3 weeks! And every year there are more and more foreign groups joining the local pilgrimages, and they carry their national flags proudly along.

    Pilgrim groups keep arriving all day long, and there are even up to 350 thousands of them. Check the photo: this is a view of the beautiful, tree-lined Virgin Mary Avenue as the pilgrims approach the Jasna Gora sanctuary. I was one of them when I was a student. That final distance is when your feet really hurt! But you actually don't mind that... you're rather filled with the memories of all the beautiful things that happend to you along the way... and you're grateful for all the wonderful people that you would inevitably have to part with the next day...

    Of course, many people just drive to Czestochowa or come by train or in organised bus trips throughout the year. Any transport is good as long as you choose to visit Jasna Gora at least once in your lifetime :-)

    Photo from Jasna Gora website
    (sorry, I can't fly! ;-)

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Eco-Tourism

    Was this review helpful?

  • gosiaPL's Profile Photo

    6th WORLD YOUTH DAY IN CZESTOCHOWA

    by gosiaPL Written Nov 24, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    6th World Youth Day

    For the Sixth World Youth Day in 1991, pope John Paul II invited all the young people to come to the Jasna Gora sanctuary.

    The event took actually 4 days (August 12-15) and the local record was beaten: 1,700,000 young people from all over the world came to Czestochowa!
    I didn't go but... shhh, got the T-shirt ;-)

    The picture shows the crowds in the open space where the Holy Mass for pilgrims is celebrated.

    Photo from Jasna Gora website

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo

    No photos of Black Madonna

    by Pawtuxet Written Dec 1, 2002

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    But we did manage a few photos in the chapel next to the one with the painting. Once again I was blown away by the gold. It has such a warm lustre. Wish someone would explain the differences in the golds to me. I had to take the pic without a flash...sorry it couldn't be better.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • marishabandb's Profile Photo

    Since the end of Communism,...

    by marishabandb Updated Sep 9, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The inner courtyard

    Since the end of Communism, Poland has been able to open itself up to the world, and in recent years more and more pilgrims have taken part in walking pilgrimages, especially of young people from abroad who come to Poland especially for them. August 1991 was extraordinary: the 4th World Youth Day was held in Jasna Gora, with the participation of Pope John Paul II; it was attended by 1.5 million young people. Pilgrims from abroad most often participate in the Warsaw, Krakow and Mountain pilgrimages. The largest groups are from Italy, France, Germany and the USA. Recently there have been more and more groups from the East - the Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia and Armenia. The peak of the pilgrimages from abroad is in July and August.

    The ever-expanding pilgrimage movement and its long tradition reaching back six centuries have made walking pilgrimages to Jasna Gora a unique phenomenon on a world scale. The spontaneity of that movement testifies to the uniqueness of Jasna Gora - a place of truth, of the protection of the specialness and patriotic values of the Nation.

    Pilgrimages bring together representatives of many social groups, professions, movements and communities from all parishes in Poland. A pilgrimage to Jasna Gora is a prayer, a gesture of homage; the votive offerings laid before the Black Madonna are days and nights of adoration and vigil, a journey accompanied by song and music, the hospitality of the homes on the way, opening their doors wide to offer a night's stay and food to tired pilgrims, free of any charge.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Czestochowa

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

102 travelers online now

Comments

Czestochowa Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Czestochowa local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Czestochowa sightseeing.

View all Czestochowa hotels