Due to the restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s Corpus Christi in Spycimierz differed from the previous ones. In the form of celebration only, because the spiritual dimension was deep as always.
Who came to Spycimierz on that day certainly does not regret it, because was an eyewitness to the highest craftsmanship of the art of arranging floral designs. The entire carpet was not two-kilometer like every year, but about 170 meters and was arranged around the church. This is a great example of the fact that quantity is not so important as heart and passion.
It is worth quoting the words of Janusz Tatarkiewicz, artist photographer, author of photos for the album „Corpus Christi in Spycimierz. Intangible Cultural Heritage. ” – The compositions were arranged on church alleys, thanks to which the lush green of the lawns created a natural passe-partout for multi-colored compositions. This year the Corpus Christi celebration was earlier and more natural flowers were available. Being there from the early hours of the morning and participating arranging the carpets, one had the impression of creating the scenery for the great spectacle. We admired the color, forms and commitment of people. There was one more thing – the smell of flowers, but this can not be photographed.
No distance will separate us, and certainly will not stop us
A fragment of the Corpus Christi route at the church gate was reserved for guests from Italy representing the „Infioritalia” Association. An original composition created by them always attracted the attention of visitors. This year, Italians could not come, but they proposed a joint project to maintain close ties in this difficult time. Under the slogan „No distance will separate us, and certainly will not stop us”, all members of the Association, including Spycimierz, put together in their towns, using own techniques, an identical floral composition according to a project by Aldo Longobardi from San Valentino Torio. The picture depicted symbols associated with the feast of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ along with the flower being the Association’s logo. The sketch was divided into lines in the shape of a puzzle (the originator of this element is the priest of the parish of Cusano Mutri). This detail emphasized the unification of many elements, which until the holiday were separated due to social distance in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Field research as planned
The ceremony could not fail to include scientists who have been doing research of the phenomenon of Spycmierz Corpus Christi for the second year. The main goal is to develop the first report in Poland on the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage along with recommendations for the bearers of traditions. The effects can be applied by the communities cultivating various traditions throughout Poland.
On June 11, teams of ethnologists (from Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and the National Museum of Agriculture and Agri-Food Industry in Szreniawa) came to Spycimierz and geographers from the University of Łódz. The research is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and Uniejów Municipality.
– We did a number of interviews and observations during carpet laying, liturgy and cleaning the square after the holiday – says dr hab. prof. UMCS Katarzyna Smyk. – We focused on several areas. One is the cooperation of the residents of Leśnik in setting the gate and their messages about the past and present of Corpus Christi. The second is families who have been setting altars for a long time. The third – for which I was responsible – were conversations with the oldest inhabitants of the village.
Research teams also observed the problem of pandemic impact on the holiday. – We were deeply affected by the fact that Corpus Christi was in question at all, that the carpets must have been more than 10 times shorter than usual – these are serious problems that could introduce anxiety to the community, upset its homeostasis. Fortunately, despite the uncertainty before Christmas, everything worked out – from the researchers’ perspective – perfectly. The spectators stood up to the task, the holiday was extraordinary in the most positive sense. Once again, they showed how a work dedicated to God unites them perfectly – emphasizes Katarzyna Smyk.
„Village painted with flowers”
Just before this year’s Corpus Christi, the Konin Cultural Centre made available on the Internet the film „Village painted with flowers” from 1988 by Andrzej Moś. The pictures were taken in 1986 and this is probably the first film documentation of the Corpus Christi celebration in Spycimierz.
The picture was shown during the first Spycimierz Seminar in 2018. The special guest was Andrzej Moś, who talked about the backstage of work on the document. The inhabitants of Spycimierz looked at the film with considerable emotion – after almost 35 years, the village has changed, and many heroes of this image are no longer among us. Read the memories of the author and watch the film.
Photos by Janusz Tatarkiewicz and Izabela Tatarkiewicz.