Gazda Parade – Kumoterki sleigh races and other winter attractions

Parada Gazdowska
Every year, in the Podhale communes, near the winter holidays, gazda parades are held. This is the traditional presentation of winter sleds, in which the representatives of highlander families, dressed formally in regional clothes, are sitting.

This is a colourful event which attracts many tourists. Preparations for the parade last for at least several days and involve member of the household. Eventually, you need to care for the horses and groom the entire sled. By the way, elderly highlanders take care of familiarising the young with Podhale traditions. In addition to the presentation of the sleds, there are numerous competitions which often require great fitness and courage. One of the competitions are the Kumoterki sleigh races, i.e. races of pairs of highlanders, referring to the tradition in which godparents, so-called kumotrowie, take infants, by small wooden sleigh, to church to be christened. During the race, the sleigh is driven by „kumoter”, who is a native highlander while „kumoterka”, or „baba”, holds on tight to the sleigh and balances with her body to prevent the sled from going off the track. However, spectacular falls happen frequently. Skiring and ski-skiring require a very good physical condition. In case of skiring, a skier follows a horse which he drives on his own and in ski-skiring he tries to remain on his skis while following a running horse, on which a rider is sitting.