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Understanding Poland's Birthday Tradition


horacebury 1 | 8
4 May 2011 #1
I am English and living in England. My girlfriend is Polish and living in Poland. Her cousin recently had her 18th birthday party, which we were both at, and I was completely unaware that there is a tradition of a strapping on this particular birthday.

I discovered this when my girlfriend's brother stood up with a belt in his hand and when I turned to my girlfriend to ask her what was going on she said that they were going to beat the birthday girl.

She also said that on her birthday she received the same thing and that it's a tradition.

I love my girlfriend so much and I can't understand this at all. The thought that this was done to her is making me inconsolable and I really need someone to explain it in terms I can understand.

She has said that it wasn't that bad, she didn't get hurt and that she was never violated in any way. But that's only after a day of my trying to come to terms with this. Her first description of it was that she was left purple and black for a week. She has since said that she probably exaggerated it.

I have since found this via google: corpun.com/vidpli1.htm

I really need some help here, please. As it turns out the girl at the recent birthday got 3 light taps and 15 'bumps', which we also have in England. But I simply can't deal with the idea of my girlfriend's own family and friends beating her. What do I do.

Please help.
ukpolska
4 May 2011 #2
This is for the 18th birthday, but it is more lighthearted and not taken seriously and certainly doesn't warrant the word "beating".

Calm down and go with the flow and make light of it as people do here.
OP horacebury 1 | 8
4 May 2011 #3
What does it warrant? Why isn't it taken seriously?

I don't think there is anything 'lighthearted' about a beating. I am truly in shock that anyone would consider such a thing.

I'm sorry, but I can't stand the idea that this has happened to her.

Is there anything else in the future I should be aware of?

When I marry her are they going to beat her round the face?

Maybe you can't understand my point of view here, but I will do anything to stop anyone harming her. Maybe I'm taking this too much to heart, but there is no way anyone is going to do something like this again and if I had been there at the time I don't know what I would have done to stop it.

It is simply not acceptible where I come from and I can't get my head round it.
ukpolska
4 May 2011 #4
Get over this jezzz, it is a bit of fun...... That is all, nothing to be worried about.
Do you really think people in this country are barbarians?

Don't you think you are being a tad over sensitive as it sounds like your girlfriend was winding you up when she said that she was 'left purple and black for a week', and perhaps you should voice your insecurities with her, as she will most likely giggle and tell you to stop being daft ;0)
GrzegorzK
4 May 2011 #5
I'm polish and my family has never done such a thing, no one in my family at all. It varies from family to family, most Poles don't celebrate such a thing. Your gf's family is just messed up maybe?
Maaarysia
4 May 2011 #6
Her first description of it was that she was left purple and black for a week

she was joking!
Do you really believe that someone could beat her black and purple?! No kiddin!

There are many traditions of celebrating birthsdays. That one in particular I haven't heard much about but I googled it and it seems there is such tradition that a person who is celebrating 18th birthsday is due to receive 18 slaps in a butt from guests :) It's a kind of initiation. I would compare it with the new students' initation in brotherhoods of US colleges which also can be seen as stupid rites or sometimes even cruel for a person outside.

Also in Polish culture a strike in a butt is considered somewhat lucky (I know it sounds strange). If someone is taking a seriouse exam a kick in a butt is something to make that person lucky.

But I simply can't deal with the idea of my girlfriend's own family and friends beating her.

They are not "beating" her. They just spanked her for the birthsday following a traditional custom.

When I marry her are they going to beat her round the face?

What are you talking about??? No one has beaten or beats or will be beating her. Calm down.
She's not an object of an abuse. Just talk to her, she'll explain you that.
OP horacebury 1 | 8
4 May 2011 #7
ukpolska: That's what I need to get into my head- someone to explain properly that it's all just exaggerated. Yes, she said that she was exaggerating it, but she only said that after a day. A day we spent with me trying to tell her that I can't believe anyone would do that to her and her getting angry/annoyed/upset that I can't deal with it. I am not taking this lightly because her first description was in no way light, lighthearted or anything of the sort. I really pray to god that she was exaggerating, I really do. Believe me, we have spent a lot of time talking about this, more arguing. And yes, I think it's barbaric.

I'm a very flexible person when it comes to understanding others. I've travelled a lot, seen a lot of things. But I never thought in my life I would have to consider this.

GrzegorzK: No I don't think her family is messed up. Why is it that most Poles don't celebrate it? Could it be because it's barbaric?

Maaarysia: Thank you. This is what I need. For the record, I have never consider US fraternal traditions sensible in any way, either. I know lots of countries have this kind of thing, but I've deliberately chosen not to love someone who would consider such abuse. I am hoping that she was exaggerating and that her lack of understanding of my point of view simply comes from her situation genuinely not being what she described. But is it so impossible for anyone to understand that I will do anything to stop people from hurting her? Really?
ukpolska
4 May 2011 #8
They are not "beating" her. They just spanked her for the birthsday as a traditional custom says.

You wait until he hears about wet Monday when they chase the girls through the streets throwing buckets of water over them hehe

Could it be because it's barbaric?

Don't be such an over-sensitive tit. It is a joke... get it?

And GrzegorzK lives in America and probably doesn't understand Polish culture too well.
OP horacebury 1 | 8
4 May 2011 #9
No, I don't get it.

Maybe I'm being oversensitive. What I came here for is to get a real life appreciation for someone else's culture. To try to understand it.

And no. No-one is chasing my girlfriend through the streets either. My girlfriend is ill and doing something like that would be in now way good for her.
Maaarysia
4 May 2011 #10
Yes, she said that she was exaggerating it, but she only said that after a day

Are you yourself a victim of violence? Why do you suspect her of not telling you the truth? Sorry to say that but your really oversensitive.

Why is it that most Poles don't celebrate it?

there are many customs of various popularity depending on region. I heard about beraking an egg over head of a person who is celebrating birthsday.

Horace she agreed fot that. If she didn't want to participate in that custom she would say so and no one would did that.
OP horacebury 1 | 8
4 May 2011 #11
Yes, I do consider I am such a person. I am also a trained martial artist and I know the difference between punishment and fun, of pain and simple silliness. I have spoken to a number of English about this and I have told them everything and more than was in my first post and they agree with me. Perhaps it is the extremity of the situation that is stopping me from being understanding, but I really need to be convinced that my girlfriend has not been hurt and that I'm not going to have to witness anything like that in the future. Is that too much?

Breaking an egg on someone's head is funny. Not painful.

My understanding of Wet Monday is akin to throwing water balloons. Again, funny, not painful.

Going back a bit, yes I can understand a spanking. Even slapping or something. Perhaps it was her choice of words and the exaggeration. Again, I'm saying I really want it to be that. I'm desperately hoping and trying to get that.
Maaarysia
4 May 2011 #12
I have spoken to a number of English about this and I have told them everything and more than was in my first post and they agree with me.

You've also talked with ukpolska who is an Englisman too. He lives in Poland for very long time.

the difference between punishment and fun, of pain and simple silliness.

Have you witnessed that custom? How do you know it wasn't a fun?

I really need to be convinced that my girlfriend has not been hurt

I'm trying to convince you that she hasn't been hurt. I've already said it's a custom, it's a play, it's not serious, it's a way of initation on which she obviously agreed. So what else you want to hear?

Not painful.

Oh give me a brake. This spanking wasn't painful for her too. Maybe just her brother wanted to get back at her so his spank was a little bit harder ;)

Understand that if someone don't want to participate in such play, no one can force her/him to that. Do you really think that all her friends and her brother suddently got against her and beat her up? Don't be silly.

Going back a bit, yes I can understand a spanking. Even slapping or something. Perhaps it was her choice of words and the exaggeration. Again, I'm saying I really want it to be that.

It was spanking for 100%. I ensure you :)
ukpolska
4 May 2011 #13
Are you for real?
Because I have never met such an over-sensitive soul as you and the only way that you are going to get proof that your girlfriend was not beaten black and blue by this backwater barbaric country is to speak to her isn't it!!!

Oh look they are doing it in America as well lol

I have a question, are you an English descendant?
Maaarysia
4 May 2011 #14
But is it so impossible for anyone to understand that I will do anything to stop people from hurting her? Really?

It's very nice that you are so protective to her and carrying. Keep it going. But don't be so deadly serious. Just ask her if she accepts that custom if she does then everything is ok and no harm for her.
OP horacebury 1 | 8
4 May 2011 #15
Yes, I'm sensitive. No, I'm not over sensitive.

No, Poland is not a backwater and barbaric country.

It was spanking for 100%. I ensure you :)

This is what I needed to hear/read. Thank you.

It's not a tradition in America. I don't really care what they do there. I don't love someone in that country. I'm not trying to make the world a perfect place, just trying to ensure that my girlfriend is cared for.

And yes, I'm completely English. Are you going to raise the issue of stonings, the stocks, public beatings, corporal punishment, a long history of torture, invasion, barbarism in modern day or simply the birthday bumps? For the record, I was given the bumps in years past and when it happened it was completely new to me as well. I didn't understand it then and before I knew what was happening I very nearly defended myself the way I thought appropriate.

I understand there's probably a lot of people reading this and laughing at me. Frankly, I don't care. I've come here to learn, understand and try to believe that my girlfriend has not been mistreated. That's all.

Maaarysia: This is my problem. I did not choose to accept someone into my life who accepts violent customs. There are countries where stonings and even rapings take place and people accept them on some level. I don't and never will.
Olaf 6 | 956
4 May 2011 #16
she received the same thing and that it's a tradition

It seems like a pretty dumb tradition and resembles a poor copy of the 'tradition' in the army for rookies.
It is definitely not practiced everywhere in Poland.
gumishu 11 | 5,701
4 May 2011 #17
I discovered this when my girlfriend's brother stood up with a belt in his hand and when I turned to my girlfriend to ask her what was going on she said that they were going to beat the birthday girl.

I have heard of this thing (actually read about it on the internet) - but boy I don't know where it comes from - I never personally known a person who would do or suffer from this - it was unheard of when I was younger - stupid is not a word enough to describe it - and now they say this is a tradition - God forbid
ukpolska
4 May 2011 #18
Then speak to her it really is that simple or don't you believe her.
OP horacebury 1 | 8
4 May 2011 #19
Olaf and gumishu appear to agree with me. However, because of the words of people here I am beginning to realise that it probably wasn't that bad. I still think it's stupid. I just cannot ever tolerate violence towards women.

I have tried talking to her but the way I dealt with it at the start has probably annoyed her to the point of not wanting to talk about it. She has had her patient periods with me, however.

If anyone thinks I'm overreacting, please read my account of her original words and realise that is all I had at the time. It is as simple as someone saying something terrible is about to happen and it's normal.
Maaarysia
4 May 2011 #20
and now they say this is a tradition - God forbid

I didn't heard about many things people on this forum described as Polish traditions. I say it must be regional.

If anyone thinks I'm overreacting, please read my account of her original words and realise that is all I had at the time.

Ok you have right to ask questions, it is what for this forum was created, isn't it? :)

I have tried talking to her but the way I dealt with it at the start has probably annoyed her to the point of not wanting to talk about it.

Just say her that you might understand her in wrong way and you was just worried about her.

Good luck you both! :)
ukpolska
4 May 2011 #21
I still think it's stupid.

Of course it is stupid Matthew, but someone in another country might see our tradition of grabbing hold of someone's legs and arms and throwing them in the air as kind of strange.

By the way your girlfriend is cute ;0) (sorry but with a name like horacebury it stands out) :)

Speak to her and understand each other, love her, and have a good life.
As Maaarysia said you sound a caring person, but don't be overly so as I sure she is a bright intelligent person as are most Poles and would never allow anyone to just beat her.

Oh by the way, don't get married in Poland as it is too painful..... joke!
GrzegorzK
4 May 2011 #22
I'd tell her she's stupid for doing the tradtion... unless she really enjoys, then she can have at it, i'll find another chick. Nut thats just me. And that all depends on how much I like her. And if her brothers try to open their mouths i'll bend them over and spank them with their own belt. Don't be a submissive boyfriend, be a man, men are supposed to be head of the household.
Maaarysia
4 May 2011 #23
Of course it is stupid Matthew,

Well as you see among Poles the opinions are devided. Like everywhere about initiation rites. Some say it's a tradition (but no one knows when exactly that tradition came to Poland - maybe in recent 20 years if not everyone even heard about it) some doesn't heard about it at all, some associates it with very negative phenomenoms of fala (literally wave; "initation" of new soldiers) and kocenie (lit. cat-ing "initiation" of fist class students).

Personally I think it's very childish and it makes a risk that someone will give a spank too strong and there will be animosity between etc.

I've never been on 18th birthsday where this custom was cultivated but heard somewhere about giving a spanking so I believe it must be a regional thing or relatively new.

I have my own general principle on such matters - everything is ok if it's not against somebody's will. And everyone (including the "victim") consider it as a kind of fun and play.
OP horacebury 1 | 8
4 May 2011 #24
Thank you everyone. You have helped me today.

I'm choosing to believe that she was exaggerating as her description of what was about to happen at the time was nothing like what happened eventually. I accept that sometimes it might be not an exaggeration, but what I can't accept is that /that/ happened to her.

I really believe the Polish and Poland are lovely people, very friendly and that horrible things don't happen in a country which has had a very painful history - though, of course, most countries have developed from some form of extreme hardship during certain ages.

ukpolska: You don't know the half of it. She's incredibly beautiful and I would defy anyone to accept violence towards her (or any woman!) - but she is my concern and I love her.

Annoyingly, I have to go to work now, but I'll be checking this thread later.

Thank you all.

Ps: I honestly wish these things and things like them didn't happen anywhere.
gumishu 11 | 5,701
4 May 2011 #25
but what I can't accept is that /that/ happened to her.

eh, why don't you insist on not accepting what happened - what happened, happened - apparently noone was seriously harmed - had your GF objected to the thing it probably wouldn't have happened after all (or else would have been a serious offence) - should this stop you from loving her? - sorry if I repeat what some other people have already written here
Lenka 3 | 2,564
4 May 2011 #26
There is such tradition but the level of "beating" depends on person who is the guest.If your friends are morons then it can be a little to much but if they are sensible ppl then it's just fun.What's more if this girl was really beaten so hard then why no-one reacted?Fun is fun but when someone is getting violent...
OP horacebury 1 | 8
4 May 2011 #27
It doesn't stop me from loving her - in fact, if anything it's made me love her more.

I need to know that it can't go too far, that it is just fun play. The problem I have is that that is not what I was told in the beginning.

I don't accept "not seriously harmed". I don't accept "harmed". In the same way I don't accept statutory rape - considering such a thing goes ahead with the minor's "consent" - I don't accept this because I don't believe one gives their consent, while drunk, in a party, for such behaviour.
southern 75 | 7,096
4 May 2011 #28
Interesting tradition.Also explains some tendencies among Polki.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,385
4 May 2011 #29
When I marry her are they going to beat her round the face?

probably not, but she may be tied up/tied to a chair

some folks wrap (not tie) a rope around ones wrists at birthday time
Calabrien - | 20
4 May 2011 #30
Like Maaarysia said, some say it's a tradition some doesn't heard about it at all.
My parents are from Rzeszów and they didn't heard about it. My brothers and I was born in Silesia and we had our 18 birthday here. We were all "spanked".

Honestly if you have normal friends (and no morons without brain) it isn't even painful. I didn't even feel it, really :) and my butt wasn't purple after it, not even red :D It's more a symbol and generally it's done gently just to touch the butt with a belt and not really hit you with it.

And the purpose - it's a symbol, you get hit 18 times on you birthday so after it you can't get hurt or be unhappy in your adulthood.


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