Amazing horse sled races end Carnival in Highland Poland Feb 13, 2013 22:33:54 GMT 1
Post by Bonobo on Feb 13, 2013 22:33:54 GMT 1
New Year’s Eve bonfire lit by torches or a race of highlander horse-drawn sleighs through the snow-covered mountain valleys – such attractions await visitors to the Polish mountains in winter time.
For many people a galloping horse is one of nature’s most beautiful images. Spending time in the company of these friendly animals is a form of active leisure that raises your adrenaline level and cures you of daily stress. The swift English thoroughbred, the noble Arabian horse, the small Polish konik, the Hucul pony, the Ma³opolska and Wielkopolska saddle-horses – each of these breeds is a synonym of adventure and beauty. Poland is a country with a long horseback riding tradition carried through the centuries by winged hussars, uhlans and cavalrymen. A few thousand stud farms are located in Poland and horse-riding is practiced by as many as half a million people.
In former times, kulig, i.e. a winter horse-drawn-sleigh ride, used to be a favourite pastime of the Polish aristocracy. In the 17th century, local magnates would ride around neighbouring estates, welcomed with dancing and feasts. As required by the old Polish tradition of hospitality, the host would provide his guests with keys to his larder and wine cellar, and once his stocks have all been cleared, he would join the cavalcade in search for another manor to continue the feast. The word kulig probably originates from kula, i.e. a curved mace, handed over as a signal of starting festivities. Over the ages, this aristocratic pastime became a means of earning a living, presented as part of folk customs and associated most often with highlander folklore.