If it is charming and a little magical, it is probably European. So it is with the Painted Village, AKA Zalipie, Poland. Thanks to my addiction to the Mental Floss site, I was recently introduced to something that has been around for over one hundred years: the beautifully painted cottages of this Polish village. The story goes that a resident painted flowers over soot stains in their house. From that simple beginning sprang a village culture of folk art. Now Zalipie residents paint flowers on just about every available surface; their cottages, of course, but also their businesses and barns and churches, their doghouses, their wells, and even their trees.
In 1948 a contest was started to be the most beautifully decorated cottage in Zalipie. It was begun to help exorcise the demons of the War that ravaged Poland. That idea helped me realize that sometimes painted flowers are just painted flowers; but at other times painted flowers are a means to health and peace, of mind and body, not just for some but for a community, for a country.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get to Zalipie in my lifetime but I am thankful places like this exist in the world. The Painted Village gives me more hope than a lifetime of political speeches or sermons from the pulpit.