Polish culture & traditions

Who and When brings Gifts to
Polish Children during
Christmas Season
In some regions of Poland the gifts are given to the
children only on December 6th - since St. Nicolaus
called also Santa Claus is a patron of this day. But in
the majority of houses children (and adults) can expect
gifts twice- on December 6th and also on Christmas
Eve. The atmosphere of this feast is different than the
atmosphere of Christmas eve since December 6th is a
normal working day. Whereas Christmas is usually
celebrated as a family feast.
Delicious Food for Fat
The Thursday before Ash
Wednesday is celebrated as
Fat Thursday - Tlusty
Czwartek . On this is the
day when you forget about
your diet and eat mountains
of donuts (paczki) and all
the other things fat, greasy,
sweet, full of cholesterol,
generally unhealthy, and
mmmmm.... delicious.
Sinking of Marzanna
Winters in Poland were long and unforgiving. Therefore people are longing for spring.
One of the ancient and pagan habits that supposedly was helping to get rid of winter was
"sinking of Marzanna". Kids made a doll from old grass and tree branches and take it to
the river. They burn the doll and throw her into the river. The symbolic meaning of this
ceremony is to get rid of winter therefore it is performed in early spring.
Palm Sunday Traditions
Palm Sunday niedziela palmowa is called also The Sunday
of the Lord's Passion. Here we will focus mainly on the
tradition of Polish palms
The most popular palms that people usually carry to the
church are made of blooming pussy willows branches
called bazie or kotki decorated with branches of birch,
raspberry, currant and also some boxwood bukszpan, dry
flowers and grass, ribbons and other decorations. In the
Catholic Church the willow (Polish: wierzba) symbolizes
the resurrection and the immortality of the soul.
Art of Coloring Easter Eggs
The Easter eggs are symbols of fertility and beginning of the new life.
Some of the eggs were painted in traditional Polish folk patterns. These
eggs were called "pisanki". Word "pisanki" comes from the root-word
meaning "to write". Painting eggs is a multi-layered process of writing
on an egg with hot beeswax, dying the egg, then finally melting and
rubbing off the egg for a finished product.
Easter Saturday in Poland
Easter Saturday in Poland is
a busy day. Every Polish
family visits a church with a
basket full of food products
(a piece of bread, salt,
sausage, egg - usually
painted etc). Especially
children love it! The baskets
are then blessed by a priest.
Wet Monday
Smigus Dyngus (shming-oos-ding-oos) is an unusual
tradition of Easter Monday. This day (Monday after
Easter Sunday) is called also in Polish "Wet Monday",
in Polish: "Mokry Poniedzialek" or "Lany
Poniedzialek". Easter Monday is also a holiday in
Poland. It was traditionally the day when boys tried to
drench girls with squirt guns or buckets of water.
A long Mayday weekend in
May 1st - International Workers' Day
May 2nd - Flag Day, it is also celebrated as a day of Polish
immigration or Poles abroad, so called POLONIA DAY.
May 3rd - The oldest feast is a feast of May 3rd which is
devoted to the day of constitution, since the famous
Constitution of the 3rd May was established on that day.
Many people go on the outdoor trips during long Mayday
St. John's Night
At the end of June, at the
time of Summer Solstice,
when night is shortest and
Nature bursts with
blossoms and growth, we
celebrate the Holiday of
Fire and Water, also
called Noc Kupaly.
People gather at a fire,
jumping through the fire,
sing songs, dance and
having lots of fun.
Girls wore wreaths of flowers on their heads. If the burning wreath was thrown in
the river and then pulled by a single man it might mean they are engaged.
St. Andrew's Night
There is a long tradition of fortune telling
especially for non-married girls on the
November 30th in Poland. The main purpose
of Andrzejki celebrations is to predict the
future of unmarried girl, especially her
prospects for a good marriage.
Presently people do not take seriously the
fortune-telling during st. Andrew Day but
this day is still celebrated because it is lots of
Miners' Day (St. Barbara Day),
One of the most celebrated days associated with workers group is St.
Barbara's Day on December 4th. St. Barbara is a patron of coal miners.
Miners are dressed in the special uniforms during Barbórka. The uniform
consists of black suit and hat with a feather. The color of the feather
depends on the rank of the miner.
All Saints' Day in Poland,
November 1st
Poles take flowers (especially fall flowers like chrysanthemum), wreaths,
candles and votive lights into the cemeteries where graves of family,
friends or national heroes are. It is worth to mention that the cemeteries
in Poland are different than in any country. Graves and tombs are big and
very individualized.
The atmosphere of All Saints' Day is unique. In the evening cemeteries
are decorated in glowing and flickering colorful lights of countless