Welcoming participants of 30ᵗʰ FESTIVAL OF THE CHILDREN OF MOUNTAINS
When does the FESTIVAL OF THE CHILDREN OF MOUNTAINS begin? The most beautiful children's folk Festival begins... in different ways.The Festival Mass, which this year will be celebrated on Sunday at 2:00 pm, again - after a four-year hiatus - at St Margaret's Basilica, is seen by many as a vital moment marking the beginning of this event. But right after the Eucharist the Festival participants meet the Nowy Sącz authorities in the Old Market Square. The clinking of the keys that are being hit against one another is one of the symbols as well: something is beginning, as the town gates are being officially opened to us. Last but not least, the inaugural concert at 5:00 pm. All the participants start the Festival off with dancing and singing.
However, when we ask the organisers, they will say that the next Festival begins with the end of the previous one, and for the participants the Saturday evening preceding the first Festival Sunday is of great significance. It is then that the first meeting with the comrade ensemble takes place; the first shared meals and... the first official meeting with the organisers.
When the Saturday evening falls, it is customary for those responsible for the Festival to do the rounds of all the ensembles, introducing the organisers and informing the ensemble instructors of the schedule of the first day of the Festival.
At the boarding house of the Secondary School Complex no. 1, at the student hostel of the University of Applied Sciences in Nowy Sącz, and at the hall of residence of the Stary Sącz school, the honours were done by Andrzej Zarych, the director general of SOKÓŁ Małopolska Culture Centre. To the ensemble leaders he presented Józef Broda, the artistic director the Festival; Krzysztof Trebunia-Tutka, who co-hosts the Festival concerts; Katarzyna Broda, who is Józef Broda’s assistant (and daughter); Piotr Gąsienica, the Festival manager and Andrzej Zarych’s deputy at SOKÓŁ; Monika Kurzeja, the head of the Festival organisational office; Piotr Droździk, the Festival photographer; and the author of these words.
Then, Monika introduced the ensembles to the customs concerned with the Festival Mass: the common prayer of the faithful, where announced intentions are always read by representatives of all the ensembles, the procession with gifts, where each group presents some small gift, singing during the Mass, to which all the ensembles expressing such a wish are invited.
Piotr Gąsienica, in turn, told the ensemble instructors about the meet-and-greet event in the Old Market Square, the opening parade and the inaugural concert at the Amphitheatre.
These night meetings are important. First and foremost, they afford the organisers an opportunity to ask the participant ensembles if everything is all right, or if they need some help or anything...
We did not visit the ensemble from Kenya though. As we were visiting the Stary Sącz hall of residence, they sent us a photo from the airport, where at 1:00 am they were to board a plane bound for Poland. I hope that they will make it and join us for the Holy Mass at 2:00 pm. You can’t miss the opening events of the Festival!