Flower Carpets for Corpus Christi in Spycimierz, Poland

Flower Carpet in Spycimierz Poland
Łódź VoivodeshipPoland

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Do you dream of being on the red carpet at least once? For us, such attractions are already passé. This is because we had the opportunity to walk on a kilometer-long, multi-colored carpet made of live flowers. Do you want more details?

Are you looking for an idea to spend your free time? Check out our section: Best things to do in Lodz!

Flower carpets in Spycimierz on the UNESCO list

By the decision of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, in 2021 the Spycimierz tradition of creating flower carpets was officially included in the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.

Of course, it wasn’t like a representative of an international organization suddenly visited Poland, saw the sidewalks decorated with flowers on Corpus Christi and decided that he and his colleagues would add it to the list of cool traditions in the world. Not at all. Making such an entry required submitting an official application, several years of efforts by the Spycimierz community and meeting certain criteria. The cooperation pays off, because ultimately flower carpets decorate not only the procession route, but also the UNESCO list. Residents can be proud of themselves.

UNESCO floral carpets

Corpus Christi in Spycimierz – photos

Do you know what exactly the celebration of Corpus Christi is about? If not, we will explain to you in a moment. After all, not everyone was raised in the Catholic tradition, and therefore does not have to understand all religious rituals. Corpus Christi is a holiday that takes place exactly 60 days after Easter. And always on Thursday. It is also called the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. We don’t know how exactly this holiday is celebrated in cities, but since the Travel-Mates team grew up in the countryside, we can tell you a little about how this day is celebrated “in the provinces”. Especially since in 2023 we refreshed our childhood memories by taking part in Corpus Christi in Spycimierz.

Corpus Christi in Spycimierz

When we arrived at this small, charming town, the first thing that greeted us were colorful stalls (known as “tasze” in Greater Poland) full of toys and sweets. Anyone who has ever been to an indulgence knows what we are talking about. If you don’t know, look at the photo above. If you have children, it is better to stay away from such places. Unless you have a large surplus of cash that you can spend on Chinese plastic or unhealthy snacks to cultivate traditions.

flower carpets Spycimierz

However, it is not the fair stalls that attract crowds of people from all over Poland to Spycimierz. The main attraction are these beautiful flower carpets that decorate the streets of the village for one day a year. You’re probably wondering how it all started? Unfortunately, even the oldest inhabitants of the village do not remember that far back. Legends say that flower carpets were made here in the 19th century. However, the first written mention of these folk “works of art” comes from the mid-20th century.

flower carpets in Poland

Initially, street decorations were much more modest. Mainly sand and twigs were used to prepare them. It was only after World War II that the inhabitants of Spycimierz began to develop artistically. Both petals and whole flowers began to be used to prepare carpets. Apparently some residents kept gardens primarily so that their harvests could be used to produce decorations for Corpus Christi. Those who did not have their own crops collected the necessary materials in fields and forests.

flower carpets

Initially, “living carpets” were decorated only with simple floral motifs. Over time, the residents’ ideas evolved into truly sophisticated artistic compositions. Various religious and Eucharistic motifs and even images of biblical characters began to appear. For us, sketching a face with a pencil is a demanding task, let alone making someone’s likeness of flowers. And in such a way that it resembles the original. We think that Spycimierz is a treasure trove of undiscovered talents.

UNESCO intangible heritage

If you think that flower carpets are made in one day, you are wrong. It is a much longer process that begins many months before Corpus Christi. In addition to flowers, sand, earth, twigs, cones, needles, leaves, stems, bark are also used… Laying one section requires using a lot of materials. Those that have a longer shelf life are collected and stored much earlier, and then stored in utility rooms or basements, at the appropriate temperature and humidity.

Spycimierz UNESCO

On Corpus Christi, in the morning there is full mobilization of the inhabitants of the entire parish. They show up with chalk, sand, dirt, ready-made pattern templates and decorative elements and start working. There is little time because the procession starts at 5 p.m., so they want to complete their works by 2-3 p.m. at the latest. Everyone here counts on perfect weather – wind or rain can ruin artistic plans for good. First, you need to draw a design on the pavement, then add the contours, and then make a colorful fill. The more colors and flowers, the more beautiful the carpet.

Spycimierz Poland carpets

An integral element of the celebration of Corpus Christi (in every parish, not only in Spycimierz) is the preparation of so-called “altars”. There are four such stops along the procession route – they are supposed to symbolize the number of the Gospels or the sides of the world (opinions on this subject are divided). Each of them has a decoration and a kneeler where the priest can say prayers with the faithful. Usually altars are quite modest – white tablecloth, candles, twigs, bouquets of flowers. Spycimierz takes the topic much more seriously – just look at the photo below.

flower altars Corpus Christi

Flowers are flowers – for us, the greatest thing in this whole tradition is the sense of community and integration of the village inhabitants. Maybe you haven’t thought about it, but making such a decoration for Corpus Christi requires great organization and division of tasks among the community. The length of the flower carpets is over 1 kilometer. This episode is divided into smaller sections. The residents of the indicated houses are responsible for each of them. They need to communicate with each other, plan activities, collect materials, establish a project… Such neighborly cooperation deserves great praise!

Corpus Christi flowers

Before we show you what the Corpus Christi procession looks like, a few words about the church in Spycimierz itself, which looks really dignified both from the outside and inside. Wiolczi is a fan of sacred art of all religions in the world, so she usually has to visit a Catholic temple, an Orthodox church, a mosque or a synagogue. The more modest the building, the more she likes it.

Spycimierz parish

The church in Spycimierz (in its current shape, i.e. made of brick) is a relatively new building – it was built in 1986-1992. Its shape is simple and the facade is high and soaring, which gives it simplicity on the one hand and lightness on the other. Inside you will find a lot of frescoes, but relatively little gold (if you compare it to famous baroque buildings). Here, the faithful can definitely focus on prayer, instead of the blinding glow of the opulent decorations.

Spycimierz church

The most important, culminating point of celebrating Corpus Christi is, of course, the procession. It is a very solemn moment for the faithful and they take the march really seriously. The opportunity to create a carpet for a priest with a monstrance to walk on is an honor, not a sacrifice. What certainly surprises (both in real life and in the photo) is the unique clash of tradition and modernity. The custom of the procession has been cultivated for years… participants film and take photos, and then post their materials on social media.

Spycimierz procession

If you look closely at the participants of the procession, you will also see a man with a quite large camera. Believe it or not, Spycimierz’s Corpus Christi attracts local media from various regions of the country. And also tourists from all over Poland. In addition to church representatives, the local orchestra and the Volunteer Fire Department are also involved in the organization. This event is really interesting not only religiously, but also culturally and allows you to encounter contemporary folklore in a modern version. We really recommend it!

flower carpets in Spycimierz

The celebration of Corpus Christi in Spycimierz ends with a procession on flower carpets. We felt sorry for walking through these works of art! However, sooner or later they would be destroyed – if not by human feet, then by atmospheric factors. And within a few days at most. The perseverance of people, as well as the dedication of free time to cultivating native traditions, deserves even more admiration and respect. It’s not an “event” we’ll come back to every year, but it’s definitely worth being here at least once. Even if you are not a practicing believer.

carpets made of live flowers

Corpus Christi – Spycimierz – tickets

There are no paid tickets for this event. The only obligatory fee you have to pay is a parking ticket in the form of a brick for the parish in Spycimierz (from what we remember, it cost PLN 10).

Corpus Christi flower carpets

Spycimierz – how to get?

Spycimierz is located in the Łódź Voivodeship.

  • Uniejów is only 4 kilometers away
  • Konin is about 60 kilometers away.
  • Łódź is +/- 75 kilometers away.

With all due respect to the inhabitants of Spycimierz, but in our opinion this town is located at the end of the world. Very picturesque, charming and idyllic, but still the end of the world. We tried to use the e-podróżk website and find a connection between Spycimierz and the surrounding towns, but we failed.

The best way is to get here by car. Near the parish church you will find a separate parking lot on a freshly mown field. Its gates will be guarded by representatives of the Volunteer Fire Department, who will show you the right way and place. So you can be sure that apart from collecting a parking fee of – probably – PLN 10 for so-called “parish purposes”, nothing bad will happen to your vehicle.

Spycimierz Poland photos

Corpus Christi in Spycimierz – interesting facts and tips

  • A historical and cultural center “Spycimierskie Boże Ciało is being built in Spycimierz. You will be able to see a permanent exhibition devoted to the tradition of creating flower carpets. There will also be educational temporary exhibitions presenting similar customs in Europe and around the world.
  • Members of the Spycimierz parish actively promote their artistic work abroad. So far, they have brought their flower arrangements to Spain, the Vatican, Italy, Russia and Mexico.
  • If you are in Spycimierz, be sure to visit the Zoo Safari Borysew, less than 20 kilometers away. Exotic animals are waiting for you here, including the most popular ones: white lions and tigers. It really is something to look at.

Corpus Christi Poland

Corpus Christi – Spycimierz – reviews

  • Patrix – 10/10. It was an absolutely amazing experience. You have to see this celebration with your own eyes! It’s like in a small village, residents creating beautiful patterns from flower petals and leaves, an example of the beautiful involvement of the local community. Their works are breathtaking. It gave me great pleasure to first admire this art and then walk along the flower carpets with the procession. I definitely recommend it!
  • Wiolczix – 7/10. First of all, I would like to point out that the entire ceremony is typically religious, but you don’t have to actively participate in it if you don’t want to. You can come to see the flower carpets without participating in Catholic rituals. Certainly no one will verify your beliefs. As for the rugs themselves, most of them are really beautiful. It requires talent, artistic craftsmanship, patience and, above all, time. Residents create floral works in groups, so it is a great integration for the local community. I really admire that such a unique tradition has been cultivated for many years and passed down from generation to generation. It’s nice that its uniqueness has been appreciated by UNESCO. I subtract a few points because – logically speaking – thousands of flowers are wasted here. On the other hand – artistically speaking – the petals would fall off anyway, but at least they are pleasing to the eye for a while. Seriously, it’s worth coming to Spycimierz at least once and seeing this unique – on a global scale – event.

Poland flower carpets

Flower carpets in Spycimierz – FAQ

Floral carpets – what are they?

Flower carpet is an example of ephemeral art. It is a large mosaic made by hand from flowers or their petals, leaves, stems, branches, earth and sand placed on the ground (ground, pavement). The creation of flower carpets around the world is usually associated with religious ceremonies, holidays and festivals.

Spycimierz – where is it located?

Spycimierz is a small town located in the Uniejów commune, Poddębice County, Łódź Voivodeship. It is located 4 kilometers south of Uniejów, approximately 60 kilometers south-east of Konin and less than 80 kilometers north-west of Łódź.

Spycimierz – what to do and what to see?

The biggest attraction of Spycimierz are the flower carpets created by parishioners on the day of the Corpus Christi procession. Tourists from all over Poland come to this celebration. In the village you can take a walk along the historical and nature trail “Spycimierska Droga”, which allows you to learn about the history of the village. Just 4 kilometers from Spycimierz there are Termy Uniejów, where you can rest and relax in the saunas and swimming pool. The Borysew Safari Zoo is 20 kilometers away. They are inhabited by exotic animal species, including white lions and tigers.mierz – what attractions?

What time is the procession in Spycimierz?

The Corpus Christi procession in the Spycimierz parish takes place at 5 p.m. The late time of the event is probably due to the creative work of the local community. From early morning to afternoon, residents intensively arrange flower carpets.

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage – what is it?

UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage has its own strict definition. In short: these are all kinds of traditions, performing arts, customs, values, ideas, knowledge and skills, as well as objects or places closely related to them. As the name suggests – they do not have to be materially recorded, they can be transmitted orally. An example of such intangible cultural heritage is the Spycimierz tradition of creating flower carpets on the occasion of Corpus Christi. But not only. The UNESCO list also includes: Georgian polyphonic singing, Indonesian puppet theater, the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, the Colombian carnival in Barranquilla and the Vimbuza dance from Malawi.

Spycimierz attractions

Spycimierz – map

Spycimierz is a small village in the Łódź Voivodeship, Poddębice County, Uniejów Commune.

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