Many Happy Returns. A Book of Well-Wishes consists of 11 essays on the subject of wishes – the ones we need on a daily basis and the ones accompanying various celebrations; the ones told out loud or just whispered to oneself; the elaborate ones that roll off your tongue and the brief ones that are often stammered; the wishes that sometimes require some impenetrable rituals; the wishes that come to us while we pray; the ones that need to be written down and those meant for singing together; those hidden between the lines, conveyed by a gaze, a trembling voice, or a simple gesture. The wishes that cause shame, move or bother us, evoking our longings and anxieties. Many Happy Returns is also a story about ourselves, addressing wishes and receiving them, all too often forgetting that wishing well simply needs to be cherished.
Parallel to Wojciech Bonowicz’s narrative runs another tale, hidden in selected objects from the collection of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków. These artefacts co-create the book, and quite often, make the story take an unexpected turn. Carefully selected , they conjure up the whole range of emotions, from solemnity to humor. In themselves, they make up an intriguing story about the power of wishes, aknowledged by real people from different historical periods.
Many Happy Returns. A Book of Well-Wishes
Text: Wojciech Bonowicz
Translator: Søren Gauger
Editor, selection of illustrations: Anna Bujnowska
Consultation: Antoni Bartosz, Bożena Bieńkowska
Graphic design: Agata Biskup
Polish text editor: Małgorzata Szczurek
Polish proofreader: Ewa Ślusarczyk
English proofreader: Aeddan Shaw
Scans of archival materials: Mateusz Król
Hardback, 164 pages, 165 mm x 120 mm
Publisher: The Ethnographic Museum in Kraków
All of the illustrations in this book are from the collections of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków. The endpapers are reproductions from the diary (1906–11) and the pocket notebook (1917) of Stanisława Wanda Udzielanka.
We would like to extend our thanks to Barbara Kożuch and Karolina Pachla-Wojciechowska for their work on this book, as well as Krystyna Reinfuss-Janusz, Alicja Małeta, Małgorzata Oleszkiewicz, Anna Sulich-Liga, Lubow Zawadzka and Anna Seweryn.
This book was published as part of "The Well-Wishes: The Non-material Heritage of Małopolska in Customs Nurturing Bonds between People" – Research, Publications, Education project, carried out by the Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Krakow, financed in part by the Regional Operation Program of the Małopolska Voivodeship for 2014–20.