Gural folklore, dialect and customs are among the main attractions of the Lesser Poland region. However, the traditions of different parts of Poland without special support would face extinction. Fortunately, there are places where they continue to be cultivated. For the 46th time, the annual festival called “Sabal Bayanias” (Sabałowe Bajania), which grew out of a love of folklore of Podhalya (a geographical and ethnographic region lying at the foot of the Polish Tatras), was held in the village of Bukovina-Tatshanska. Competitions of storytellers, musicians, the initiation of men into “robbers” – this is only part of his rich program.
Save from oblivion
Podhalese folklore is one of the most characteristic elements of the Polish landscape, which arose from the combination of Polish folk culture with cultural elements of different Carpathian peoples. Despite the constant development and transformation, he retained his main features to this day. Pogallsky style can be found in the architecture, art, costumes and language of the highlanders. We immediately imagine wooden huts with sloping roofs, colorful women’s shawls, hatchets, felts and a specific dialect. However, the traditions of this region are much richer and they continue to serve as a source of inspiration for contemporary culture and art.
The highlanders ’folklore is connected with geography: life in a harsh mountain climate consolidated a cult of power and a connection with the land. Especially strong here, for example, are the shepherd’s traditions, according to which the “gazda”, the owner, transfers its sheep to the shepherds for guardianship, and they and their assistants collect the sheep in herds and graze them on mountain pastures for the whole summer. A curious element of folklore is also “robbery” dances and characteristic music, in which the main role is played by violins, flutes and cello. A distinctive feature of the region is also the folk arts and crafts: wood, metal, leather, linen, glass paintings. The most famous components of the mountain menu are sheep’s cheese “Ospek”, feta cheese, bunds (young sheep’s cheese, approx. Per.), Potato dumplings, “anvil” – sour cabbage soup, “white soup” on smoked meats, potato cakes “ Moskole ”as a substitute for bread and, of course, sheep’s milk.
The folk traditions of Podgalya noticeably stand out from the others and are an important element of self-awareness of the inhabitants of the region. However, the local dialect absorbs more and more unusual expressions, mountain music can be heard at commercial concerts, and souvenirs sold on street stalls have little to do with the original crafts. Fortunately, there are initiatives in the region that, on the one hand, are designed to remind the gorals of their roots, and on the other, to introduce tourists to their wonderful traditions. One of such initiatives is the Sabal Bayan Festival.
This year it was held in Bukovina-Tatshanskaya for the 46th time and lasted from August 7 to 12. The main points of the program were competitions of folk storytellers, instrumentalists, singers and “wedding elders” (traditional leading wedding ceremonies – approx. Per.). These events were accompanied by performances by regional ensembles from Poland and other countries, theatrical performances, an exhibition-fair of handicrafts, a photo exhibition and shooting competitions.
“Sabal accordion” is a festival of Polish folklore that is becoming more and more popular every year, ”says the main organizer of the event, Bartłomiej Koszarek, director of the local People’s House Culture Center. “Artists from different parts of Poland and the world take part in it, thanks to which we can arrange a common festival of Polish folk culture.”
From time immemorial, music and songs have brightened up the life of gurals and occupied an important place in their lives. In earlier times, highlanders met in huts, where women plucked a feather or rubbed linen, and men repaired and made household tools. During such gatherings, various legends and fairy tales were told, and in the evenings after the end of work, songs and dances to the music began. The current festival has come out of these traditions. It was first held in 1967 on the initiative of the director of the People’s House, Józef Pitorak. Over the years, the event has evolved. One thing remained unchanged: the cultural life of Bukovina-Tatshanskaya continues to concentrate around the “People’s House”, which remains the organizer of the festival.
Have fun, so have fun!
“Sabal accordions” are opened by the passage of regional ensembles and invited guests with horse-drawn carts through the village. In front of the “People’s House” there are competitions and performances by musical groups, as well as performances by the local amateur theater. At the fair, you can buy handicrafts and see how they are created, and the goral hostesses prepare dishes of the traditional cuisine of Podhalya.
Hural traditions and folklore are one of the greatest treasures of Polish culture, something that sets us apart from other peoples. Held in Bukovina-Tatshan festival is a great opportunity to get acquainted with these traditions and continue them.