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    Shepherd’s Festival Marks the Start of Grazing Season

    In the picturesque sanctuary of Ludźmierz in the Podhale region, shepherds, drovers, and sheep farmers solemnly kicked off this year’s grazing season during the traditional Shepherd’s Festival on Sunday. Due to recent snowfall, the shepherds will only take their flocks to the mountain pastures in May.

    A Celebration of Shepherd’s Culture

    At the Ludźmierz sanctuary, shepherds were blessed with holy water to sprinkle on their shelters, along with consecrated wood chips for lighting fires in their mountain huts. The Shepherd’s Festival, with the ceremonial blessing of the sheep flock, occurs annually at the Ludźmierz sanctuary “Gaździny Podhala” on Good Shepherd Sunday. Typically, the grazing season starts after the feast day of St. Adalbert on April 23rd. However, this year, snowfall on the mountain pastures has delayed the seasonal migration, pushing it to mid-May.

    Oscypek, akin to bryndza, holds a coveted spot on the EU’s list of protected traditional products. These smoked cheeses from mountain huts can be sold during the sheep grazing season, from May to October. Crafted with unchanged methods since medieval times, these cheeses are a testament to the enduring tradition of sheep farming in the Carpathians.

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