Varsovians lay yellow tulips to commemorate First Lady Maria Kaczyńska

Every year since 13 April 2010, residents of Warsaw remember the late First Lady Maria Kaczyńska and lay yellow tulips along Krakowskie Przedmieście street, Warsaw’s Royal Mile.

Maria Kaczyńska died tragically, together with her husband, President Lech Kaczyński and 94 other officials and prominent Poles in the Smoleńsk air crash, on 10 April 2010.

On 13 April 2010, when the body of Maria Kaczyńska was placed at the Presidential Palace, Poles spontaneously brought hundreds of yellow tulips to say goodbye to the highly respected and well-loved First Lady. In the following years, this spontaneous gesture has become an annual tradition.

This year the official delegation was represented by Presidential Spokesman, Błażej Spychalski, and a European Member of Parliament, Ryszard Czarnecki, who laid flowers in front of the Presidential Palace.

“It is a beautiful tradition. These tulips were named after Maria Kaczyńska and placing them on the street to commemorate her is an homage to this extraordinary woman, the late First Lady”, said the Spokesman.

Anna Gmurek, a resident of Warsaw, who brought tulips to Krakowskie Przedmieście said: “I have been coming here every year for the past nine years. Maria Kaczyńska was a First Lady of extraordinary charisma, she was very brave. Every year, I am very sad on this day.”

On 10 April 2010, 96 people died in the Smoleńsk air crash, including the then Polish President Lech Kaczyński, and First Lady Maria Kaczyńska. The plane was carrying a Polish delegation travelling to Smoleńsk to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyń Massacre.

In 2008, a Dutch tulip grower, Jan Ligthart, named a yellow tulip after Maria Kaczyńska. It took him 18 years to develop this variety of tulip.