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Seweryn Udziela

Photo by J. Mien, courtesy of the National Digital Archives

Seweryn Udziela

Cracovians

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Read by Marta Meissner, recorded by Radiofonia Association
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English translation: Paulina Tumidajewicz

The Cracovian is of medium height, broad-shouldered, muscular, sturdy, with a beautiful, shapely head and gentle facial features; his eyes are blue, his nose prominent. His hair, always fair in children, darkens with age, and so the dark-haired are greater in number.

Elder men wear long hair, loosened onto the nape of their neck, neatly trimmed above the forehead, and beautiful moustaches, yet they shave their beards. Formerly they would often shave moustaches too. Their facial features are handsome; sometimes perhaps the men are better-looking than women. Their faces and eyes communicate sense and energy.

They are attached to their homeland. Therefore they leave it unwillingly, only as a last resort, when they can no longer earn their bread here. Land they love best of all things; they prevent their acreage from dwindling and dream of how to expand it with the purchase of a bigger or smaller parcel of farmland or meadow. The poorest Cracovian will spend his whole life sighing for his own patch of land. He is industrious, resistant to hardship, thrifty and sensible, so that he can acquire a bigger property, but then again he is hospitable and likes to flaunt himself.

The Cracovians are very pious: they dutifully follow all religious practices, observe fasts, fill up the Lord’s churches on holidays, and in numerous processions attend the ceremonies commemorating the patron saints of neighbouring parishes, also those a dozen or so miles away. The services held in Częstochowa, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and numerous churches of Cracow pull in particularly large crowds, even from the remotest parts of the region. Also, the Cracovian people spare no expense over church needs. And so their morality is strong, founded on religiousness.

The Cracovian is patient, able, lively and brighter than others, he expresses himself in a clear and comprehensible manner and is fond of music, dancing and singing. He sings at work and play alike and finds it easy to compose occasional songs. 

He adores horses; he rides them since childhood and with much enjoyment; in the army he makes an excellent uhlan, and the Cracovian cavalry has always belonged to the very best.

He loves his country, he is brave, and whenever his homeland was threatened, the Cracovian would always take up arms to fight the enemy, bearing all war hardships with endurance.

English translation: Paulina Tumidajewicz
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Seweryn Udziela

(1857–1937) – an ethnographer and promoter of Malopolska folklore. Born in Stary Sącz, since 1900 he lived in Podgórze on the borders and later within the limits of Krakow. A collector of works of folk art since his youth, Udziela believed that to be the only way to protect the precious culture of the ethnical peoples of Galicia from destruction and oblivion. Thanks to his efforts, and collections of funds, the Museum of Ethnography, whose director Udziela was until his death, was set up in Krakow. Many precious exhibits that can be admired there to this day come from the private collection of its founder. (ms)
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