Celebrations of the Rekawka medieval festival in Krakow

Poland's Rekawka Fest Takes It Back to Medieval Times

Springtime in Krakow brings swords, lords, and fair maidens.

NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

You know it's officially springtime in Krakow, Poland when you see people sporting horns and toting swords at Krakus Mound. The Rękawka Festival, celebrated every year on the Tuesday after Easter, is an ancient pagan tradition where modern-day folks can get an authentic taste of medieval life. Take a look at this year's festivities.

Krakus Mound - the city's most ancient structure - is a place shrouded in mystery. Legend has it that pagan subjects built an enormous burial mound for their beloved King Krak (Krakus), carrying dirt in their sleeves (rekaw) to the burial site. To this day, researchers still debate the monumental mound's origin. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Krakus Mound - the city's most ancient structure - is a place shrouded in mystery. Legend has it that pagan subjects built an enormous burial mound for their beloved King Krak (Krakus), carrying dirt in their sleeves (rekaw) to the burial site. To this day, researchers still debate the monumental mound's origin. In the Middle Ages, Rekawka was a religious celebration where people hoped to connect with the dead. Sword and axe fights took place to honor their memory and scare away demons that threatened the living. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images In the Middle Ages, Rekawka was a religious celebration where people hoped to connect with the dead. Sword and axe fights took place to honor their memory and scare away demons that threatened the living. During these ancient celebrations, people lit fires on graves and offered food to their dead relatives. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images During these ancient celebrations, people lit fires on graves and offered food to their dead relatives. Today the festival has turned away from its religious roots and has become more of a live-action demonstration where attendees can see what life was like in the early Middle Ages. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Today the festival has turned away from its religious roots and has become more of a live-action demonstration where attendees can see what life was like in the early Middle Ages. The ancient mound is transformed into an old Slavic settlement with tents and workshops that demonstrate primitive trades like barrel making and blacksmithing. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images The ancient mound is transformed into an old Slavic settlement with tents and workshops that demonstrate primitive trades like barrel making and blacksmithing. The festival is one that the entire family can enjoy. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images The festival is one that the entire family can enjoy. You can choose to get in on the action... NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images You can choose to get in on the action... Or just sit back and take in the medieval surroundings. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Or just sit back and take in the medieval surroundings. And, of course, be sure to check out the epic sword battles. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images And, of course, be sure to check out the epic sword battles. Like this one. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Like this one. Just make sure to keep the little ones away from the action. NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images Just make sure to keep the little ones away from the action.
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