Lajkonik Parade

Thursday Jun 6 13:00–21:15    
One of Kraków's most beloved characters, and beloved traditions, is that of the Lajkonik Parade, which has been an annual event in the city for over 700 years. While its origins are complicated, legend goes that after thrashing a troupe of sleeping Tartars who'd been intent on sacking the city, one of the local heroes proudly dressed up in the garb of their general and paraded himself around town to great applause. Thus the smarmy hero Lajkonik - in his embroidered robes and pointy hat, wielding a baton and riding a hobbyhorse - was born. Pythonesquely prancing about town on his own two feet, the merry prankster performs dances, bashes eager spectators on the head with his baton for good luck and collects ‘tributes’ in the form of coins, food and booze from local shopkeepers. Accompanied by his misfit band of musicians and revellers, who assist him in entertaining the crowds and procuring bribes, Lajkonik’s procession traditionally begins at the Kraków Waterworks (ul. Senatorska 1) at 13:00, slowing making its through the Salwator district en route to the market square at 20:00, where he is ceremoniously received by the mayor, the two lead the city in a toast to Kraków’s longevity, and Lajkonik performs for the crowds.

The Lajkonik Procession Route in 2024

Note that year, due to construction works in Salwator, the procession route has been altered from its usual course. Beginning at 13:00 at the Waterworks (where the actor portraying Lajkonik and many in his merry band are employed), the procession will head down ul Senatorska through Plac na Stawach, collecting tributes from local merchants. From 13:45 to 14:30, Lajkonik will perform his first traditional dance in the yard of the Secondary School Complex No. 18 at ul. Senatorska 35, which is probably the best place to head this year if you want to introduce young children to this tradition. The procession then crosses ul. Kościuszki at ul. Flisacka and heads to the river boulevards where there will be some kind of silly clash between Lajkonik's band and some river riff-raff (14:45-15:15). The procession then heads to Dębnicki Bridge, Lajkonik Square (15:30) and Abecadło Antique Shop (15:30-15:45), before taking a rest at Smil'y Tavern (16:45-17:15).

The band of misfits will then follow ul. Podzamcze to the Planty and perform a second dance near the Philharmonic (ul. Zwierzyniecka 1) from 18:00-18:15. While Lajkonik rests near Plac Wszystkich Świętych, performances of traditional Tartar folk dances will take place on the market square from 19:00-20:00, preparing the crowd for his arrival. From 19:30 the Lajkonik will head down ul. Grodzka, arriving at the market square at 20:00, where he will be greeted by the mayor and perform a final dance on the large stage there before parading around the square. Huzzah!

Watch the website of the National Museum in Kraków for full details about the route closer to the event date.


Jun 6 2024 13:00–21:15

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