• August 7, 2014
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Mrągowo – twentieth Festival of Borderline Culture

On Friday, the 8th August, a crew of artists participating in the twentieth jubilee Festival of Borderline Culture, which will be officially open in the Cultural Centre in Mrągowo, set off from Vilnius to Poland. The Festival is held under the honorary auspices of the First Lady Anna Komorowska.

The Festival evokes the question: Have 20 years passed so quickly? It seems that not so long ago crowds gathered for the first time in the amphitheatre over the Lake Czos! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, since 1994 our countrymen from the Borderland are invited to this beloved city. They are not only dancing and singing, but also praying in gratitude for the next meeting. They sometimes are crying out of happiness that they have met again on this hospitable land where they will be welcomed by always cheerful mayor Otolia Siemieniec.

The president and director of the Stanisław Moniuszko Centre of Polish Culture in Lithuania Apolonia Skakowska, who is responsible for the crew from Lithuania, has ensured again that the Vilnius region will be proudly represented during the jubilee Festival. Our stars and starlets such as song and dance ensemble “Zgoda”, children and youth ensemble “Sto usmiechów”, vocal group “Wilenki”, the Band of Vilnius and the Band of Vilnius region from Nemenčinė will arrive in Mrągowo. Aunt Franukowa (Anna Adamowicz) and Wincuk (Dominik Kuziniewicz) will surely create a joyful atmosphere in the amphitheatre located over the Lake Czos.

Paintings of Vilnius artist Tadeusz Romanowski, Vilnius Easter palms prepared by Ola Kunicka, religious and other sculptures of Michał Jankowski, gingerbread heart of Anna Gryszkiewicz and specially baked black bread of Lolita Vilimienė from Pabradė enhance the beauty of the European Union square in Mrągowo. Thematic photo exhibition titled “Year by year. The Festival of Borderline Culture in Mrągowo” will be open in the Culture Centre in Mrągowo. The author of the exhibition is famous Vilnius photographer Jerzy Karpowicz who has attended every festival. On the following day a literary meeting with our poets, Sokołowski and Śnieżko, will be held.

Participants and guests will receive a special edition of an album devoted to the twentieth anniversary of the Festival of Borderline Culture in Mrągowo written by Krystyna Adamowicz. She is a famous Vilnius journalist who published a book titled “Zawsze wierni ‘Piątce’” (lit. Always faithful to the Fifth School) this spring, which is a chronicle of the 70th anniversary of the oldest Polish school in Vilnius. Krystyna Adamowicz as the chronicler of the Festival (she attended every festival) prepared the second edition of the album about the event.

It makes us happy that the Vilnius region has a cultural heritage we can take pride in and which could be presented during various events such as Kaziukas Fair in Lidzbark Warmiński, this year’s Festival of Polish Emigrant Ensembles in Rzeszów with participation of our song and dance ensemble “Wilnia” or the annual Festival of Borderline Culture in Mrągowo. Right after the second world war when Poles were isolated and intimidated by NKVD it seemed that the spirit of Polish people will not survive in that area. However, Providence made it so that they have not forgotten the customs, traditions and culture of their ancestor. They have cherished this splendid heritage and passed on the legacy to their children and grandchildren. It has happened because of the response of their countrymen living in Poland who assured them that their motherland has never abandoned them.

The historical and charming city of Mrągowo located in Warmia and Masuria become a symbolic shelter for people from Borderlands. It was established in 1404 by Teutonic Knights as city of Sensburg. After the second world war in 1947 the city’s name was changed to the current Mrągowo in honour of Krzysztof Mrongowiusz (1764-1855) who was an ardent defender of Polish identity in Warmia and Masuria and who was the author of a dictionary and grammar of Polish language, sermons and religious songs in Polish language.

Twenty years ago a former Governor of Mrągowo County, born in Vilnius, the president of the Towarzystwo Miłośników Wilna i Ziemi Wileńskiej (Society of Vilnius and Vilnius region Enthusiasts), the late Ryszard Soroko and TVP2 initiated the Festival of Borderline Culture thanks to which this annual meeting became a beautiful tradition. The mayor Otolia Siemieniec, the Voivode of Warmia and Mazury Jacek Protas, current president of the Towarzystwo Miłośników Wilna i Ziemi Wileńskiej Aniela Dobielska and the whole community of the city ensure that the meetings of Poles from the former Borderlands will continue.

Translated by Maciej Jóźwiak within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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