7thPolish National Meeting of Couples Who Had Non-Alcoholic Wedding Celebrations

Wedding of the Weddings 2001

Białystok (Poland), 3-6.8.2001

National Polish Meeting of Couples that Had Nonalcoholic Weddings was held in Bialystok in 2001. The participants could breath the atmosphere of this beautiful and friendly city and its surroundings in the north eastern corner of Poland. They found shelter in a high school dormitory. Each day a small sightseeing tour was attended by them. We have seen the Święta Woda sanctuary, the palace and gardens of Branicki family, the historical museum and several churches, including the cathedral. A high mountain folk group played the gorale music and demonstrated their dances. On another day several international folk groups, including one from Africa made performances. We visited the local zoo and went by busses to the Bialowieza National Park to see a nature museum and a zoological garden with some animals living in the local wild forests.

The key event of the meeting is the wedding anniversary service in the church, followed by the wedding (anniversary) reception. Hot meals and hot music of the last fifty years kept the atmosphere of a dancing party till midnight. During breaks gorale dance-and-sing ensemble presented mountaineer sobriety culture.

We were guests of the City Council and the City President attended the reception. The reason for this support of the meeting on the side of Bialystok city was a very sad incident. Some time earlier a drunk driver killed more than a dozen of people walking on a pavement. The city council took radical steps in order to prevent such tragedies in the future. Therefore they supported all the initiatives promoting sober lifestyle. President's daughter even had an a nonalcoholic wedding reception.

On the last day of the meeting we were invited to the Branicki palace and the archbishop of Bialystok together with the city president shook the hands of the participants and gave them participation diplomas. The Pope John Paul the Second sent a telegram to the participants.

We all enjoyed the extraordinary humor and spiritual zeal of Father Wladyslaw Zazel, who was the soul of the meeting. He engages himself in promoting nonalcoholic weddings by traveling all over the country to bless the couples and also to help them to convince their parents and relatives to attend such weddings. But also he promotes the gorale culture. He frequently preaches in gorale dialect and takes with him various gorale folks groups to the meetings of Wedding of the Weddings.

We thank to the archbishop of Białystok, local and regional authorities, lecturers, preachers, artists, governmental and non-governmental organisations and volunteers for support for this event.