Saints, Feast, Family
- Traditions passed down with Cooking, Crafting, & Caring -
October 31 or June 25
Saint of the day:
Saint Dorothy of Montau
Patron Saint of brides, widows, & parents of large families
Saint Dorothy of Montau
Prusso-Dutch peasant, mystic, ecstatic, stigmatic, ascetic, wife of Adalbrecht Slichting, mother of nine, widow, and anchoress at Marienwerder, in her native Prussia—where she died on this day in 1394, aged 47.
Widow and hermitess. She was born a peasant on February 6, 1347, in Montau, Prussia. After marrying a wealthy swordsmith, Albrecht of Danzig, Poland, she bore him nine children and changed his gruff character. He even accompanied her on pilgrimages. However, when she went to Rome in 1390, Albrecht remained at home and died during her absence. A year later Dorothy moved to Marienswerder, where she became a hermitess. She had visions and spiritual gifts. Dorothy died on June 25 and is the patroness of Prussia. She was canonized in 1976.
Dorothea was born at Groß Montau, Prussia (Mątowy Wielkie) to the west of Marienburg (Malbork) to a wealthy farmer from Holland, Willem Swarte (Schwartze). She was married at the age of 16 or 17 to the swordsmith Adalbrecht of Danzig (Gdańsk), an ill-tempered man in his 40s. Almost immediately after marrying she began to experience visions. Her husband had little patience with her spiritual experiences and abused her. Later, she converted him and both made pilgrimages to Cologne, Aachen, and Einsiedeln. While Dorothea, with her husband's permission, was on pilgrimage to Rome, he died in 1389 or 1390. Of their nine children eight died, four in infancy, and four during the plague of 1383. The surviving daughter, Gertrud, joined the Benedictines.
In the summer of 1391 Dorothea moved to Marienwerder (Kwidzyn), and on 2 May 1393, with the permission of the chapter and of the Teutonic Order, established a hermit's cell against the wall of the cathedral. She never left that cell for the rest of her life.
Dorothea led a very austere life. Numerous visitors sought her advice and consolation, and she had visions and revelations. Her confessor, the deacon Johannes of Marienwerder, a learned theologian, wrote down her communications and composed a Latin biography in seven books, Septililium, besides a German life in four books, printed by Jakob Karweyse.
Dorothea died in Marienwerder (called Kwidzyn by Poles) in 1394. A devotee of the Passion of Jesus and the Eucharist, she is the only Polish saint to have stigmata.
Dorothea was venerated popularly from the moment of her death as the guardian of the country of the Teutonic Knights and patron saint of Prussia/Pomerania. In 1405, 257 witnesses described her virtues and miracles. The formal process of canonisation, however, was broken off, and not resumed until 1955; she was finally beatified by Pope Paul VI (cultus confirmed) in 1976.
Dorothea's feast day is celebrated on 25 June. Her relics were lost, probably during the Protestant Reformation.
Wieża Zamku Kwidzyn - Punkt Widokowy, Poland
No Halloween but Polish people do celebrate Zaduszki!
Zaduszki or Dzień Zaduszny is a Polish name for the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls' Day) on 2 November. The word Zaduszki originating from Dzień Zaduszny, can be roughly translated into English as "the day of prayers for the souls". On this day people visit cemeteries to light candles and pray for the souls of their faithful departed, especially those believed to be in purgatory.
In folk understanding, All Saints' Day was viewed as the eve of the main commemoration of Dzień Zaduszny, when most folk customs and rituals took place.
It was believed that during the days of Zaduszki in the autumn, the spirits of deceased relatives visited their old homes by gathering near the windows or on the left side of the main doorway. Eventually, it was believed that as they entered the house, they would warm themselves by the home's hearth and search for the commemoration meal prepared for them. Prior to returning to the Otherworld, the souls went to church for a special nighttime mass by the dead priest's soul. The living were not allowed to watch the dead; those who broke this rule would be punished severely.
The ritual of Zaduszki began with caring for the cemeteries: people tidied the graves of their relatives, decorated them with flowers, lit the candles; a collective prayer for the dead was organized, and concluded with having the priest bless the graves with prayers and holy water. Homeowners in Eastern Poland prepared to meet the dead by cleaning and preparing the house for the visit; covering the floor with sand, leaving the door or window open, moving a bench closer to the hearth. And on this bench, a dish of water, a comb, and a towel were placed, so that the souls could wash themselves and comb their hair.
Women would traditionally bake special bread for souls on the Zaduszki holiday. The bread was brought to the cemetery and given to the poor, children, clerics, or simply left on the graves in a similar vein to modern-day 'trick-or-treating'. Families have traditionally tried to give out as much as possible (in some places, they baked and gave out up to 200–300 buns of bread), believing that this would help to bring in wealth and prosperity.
During Zaduszki days, people followed many taboos: by not working in the field, not doing any important household work, and by not starting a trip. According to Polish beliefs, on Zaduszki Eve, one had to go to bed as early as possible, in order not to distract the dead from celebration of their holiday. The remains of the commemorative dinner were not allowed to be removed from the table until morning; going outside and taking out trash or water were tabooed, as well. All the dogs should remain on their chains that night. If someone needed to take out the trash or pour the water out next to the house, he/she would say a special warning by-word: "Move over, soul, or I'll spill my trash/water on you!" Whitening of the oven or walls of the house was also prohibited, in order not to spray the dead with clay and lime.
Zaduszki or Polish Soul Bread
Today I am going to tell you about a beautiful, though almost forgotten, tradition. What is this Soul Bread and why was it baked?
The turn of October and November is not only Halloween costumes, scares and pumpkin lanterns. It is a time of reflection on passing, reflection, visiting the graves of loved ones, but also recalling the sweetest and happiest memories related to those who have passed away ... And if not the customs of the west, then what? We have Polish Traditions, but probably not many people know what the "forefathers" were?
Why is All Soul bread baked?
Formerly, in many cultures it was believed that the dead take care of us from the beyond. They were also supposed to take care of crops, especially grains that were the basis of food, because after their death they lived in the land, so their home is there. In many places around the world there was, and in many still is, the custom of bringing food to cemeteries on the Day of the Dead to share it with the dead, thanking them for their protection. On that day, the poor also knocked on the door of townspeople houses and they had to be given something. Today, this practice is being replaced by giving out sweets to children.
In Polish culture, even in the mid-twentieth century, there was also a custom of sharing bread with the souls of the dead. Small breads or rolls were baked. First, they were taken to the church for the priest to bless the bread and then taken to the cemetery. But they were not put on the graves, but handed out to "sepos", that is, beggars who gathered at the entrances to the cemeteries. In this way, not so much the souls as the poor were fed, asking them to pray for our loved ones. It was believed that these people, so experienced by life, will pass it symbolically to souls while eating bread because they have some extraordinary contact with them, and that in their fervent and frequent prayers they are closer to God so they will be better heard in heaven.
When is All Soul bread baked?
Such All Souls 'Breads were baked on the eve of All Souls' Day and they were brought to cemeteries on All Souls 'Day, All Souls' Day, that is on November 2. They were baked at home, in a domestic oven, because a soul gifted with the bread bought could be offended and teased. Why were they baked on the last day of October and not on November 1? Well, because it was believed that on the Feast of the Dead, souls descended to earth and could hide in warm corners of households, i.e. also in the furnace. If someone would like to bake something that day, the toasted soul would look for a quick escape and could damage the stove and, consequently, even set fire to the house.
What should soul bread look like?
According to the literature and memoirs of older people, such breads were of different sizes depending on the wealth of the household, because gesture counted, so even poor people baked some small breads or small rolls. It was also possible to cut a large loaf into chunks and use them. Loaves of soulful bread were usually oblong and had the sign of the cross imprinted on the top, so that no unclean forces would reach it and that it was known that they were alms, so you do not have to pay for them. Sometimes they were additionally decorated with some patterns associated with a specific deceased person. In the old, pagan times, such breads were baked in the shape of animals because it was believed that the souls of our loved ones were reborn in the bodies of other creatures.
All soulful bread from the Lublin region called powałki because after baking they were put to cool on a special beam under the ceiling, i.e. under the ceiling. In the vicinity of Ciechanów, perettas were baked.
2 1/4 cups luke warm water (110'F)
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rye flour
3/4 cup better for bread flour
plus 2 1/2 cups better for bread flour
2 Tbsp canola oil plus more to grease counter and pan
In a large kitchen aid mixer bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups warm water (about 100˚F), 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 Tbsp salt; stir to dissolve.
Sift the 3/4 cup wheat flour, 3/4 cup rye flour, and 3/4 cup better for bread flour with 2 tsp yeast into the salted water. Do not discard anything left in the sifter; toss it into the batter. Whisk together until well blended. Let it rise on the counter uncovered for 3 hours, stirring the batter about once every hour. It will be bubbly.
Using the dough hook attachment add 1/2 cup better for bread flour until well blended, scraping down the bowl if needed. Blend in the rest of your bread flour (2 cups) a heaping Tbsp at a time, letting the dough dissolve the flour in between each spoon (this takes about 20 min).
Once all the flour is incorporated, add 2 Tbsp canola oil. Let mix for an additional 20 more minutes with the dough hook on speed 2 or until dough is no longer sticking to your bowl. Note: after you add the oil it will look like it's coming off the walls and then it will appear to get stickier, then towards the end of your 20 minutes, it will actually stop sticking to the walls as it mixes. Just let it do it's thing and everything will work out ;). Remove dough hook and let it rise in the bowl, uncovered, until double in volume (45 min).
Grease your bread pans, counter and fingers a little with the canola oil. Punch down the dough and transfer it onto the oiled counter.
Pinch the dough in the center to form two sections with your hands. Grease your pan lightly with oil.
Divided dough into 10 or less equal parts and formed a small, oblong loaf (long bones).
Put them aside to rise on lined sheet pans, covering again with a cloth.
Once proofed make a cross and put it on a baking sheet sprinkled with flour.
Baked for about 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 360˚F.
After baking, place the bread on a wire rack.
When done, brush the tops with butter as soon as the bread comes out of the oven.