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"Weird" "Strange" "Unique" Polish Customs

OdrowazP 8 | 40
27 Jan 2021 #1
Near the beginning I signed up, I posted a thread inquiring on "How to be Polish", but it did not get a lot of responses. I'm going to try again, using a new title, and a new format, to better explain what I'm looking for. What things do people in Poland do which are considered unique to, say, the West? Bear with me. Maybe not specifically in Poland, but Eastern Europe maybe. And my Filipina wife's culture, there's this traditional idea that unmarried couples should not flip cooked fish, otherwise they will never get married (don't mind the superstition). In Siberia, I hear that people tie ribbons to lower branches of trees as an act of prayer. Just recently, I was asking my grandfather where he got holding onto Silver for on New Year's Eve at the stroke of midnight came from, and he not only told me the origin being from his father, but also informed me of the importance of bread, butter, and whiskey/vodka as traditional elements an Eastern European tradition.

What other customs and traditions are common among Polish people and their neighboring countries?
LostSoul 3 | 84
27 Jan 2021 #2
I don't know, probably Śmigus-Dyngus is unique for Poland.
Miloslaw 20 | 5,086
27 Jan 2021 #3
It's not, it is practised in a few other East European countries.

But I think Oplatek is unique to Poland.
mafketis 37 | 10,839
27 Jan 2021 #4
Oplatek is unique to Poland.

Miloslaw 20 | 5,086
27 Jan 2021 #5

I didn't know that but it is MAINLY Polish and only celebrated in parts of those other countries.
Are they perhaps regions that were formerly part of Poland?
kaprys 3 | 2,242
27 Jan 2021 #6
Christmas Eve dinner is more festive than Christmas dinner -there are some customs connected with it as well like: hay under the table cloth, twelve dishes, no meat or starting the dinner when the first star appears in the sky. Also an empty plate on the table for a wanderer /deceased family members.

Easter Palms and blessing food on Easter Saturday.
Andrzejki - st Andrew Day.
All Saints Day.
Demons from the folklore like Bobok/Bebok /Bobo, licho, Rokita or Boruta.
Welcoming people with bread and salt on important occassions.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,116
27 Jan 2021 #7
What's quite fascinating is that there's hysteria against Halloween, but then the same people go dabbling with the occult at Andrzejki or they drown poor Marzanna.

I don't know those demons though Kaprys, so thank you for the heads up!
mafketis 37 | 10,839
27 Jan 2021 #8
there's hysteria against Halloween

Traditionally a lot of Christian holidays can be divided into somber and festive parts, an interesting about the end of October beginning of November holiday is how Americans completely rid the holiday of its somber component (part of a general trend of secularizing holidays) while Poles kept _only_ the somber parts...
kaprys 3 | 2,242
27 Jan 2021 #9
The same sort of people would go crazy about Andrzejki.

Drowning or burning Marzanna is not ecological now -which does make sense actually. She was the Slavic goddess of winter /death.
Check out also Utopiec, Poludnica or Skarbnik if you haven't heard of them.
As for Halloween I would rather compare it to Polish Dziady which kind of disappeared from the Polish culture except for Mickiewicz's books.
BTW, in the past there were both Katarzynki and Andrzejki that somehow merged into one.

How about the presence of mythical creatures like a dragon, a basilisk or a mermaid in our legends?

BTW, when I first read about the basilisk in Harry Potter books, I kept wondering why they didn't take a mirror to fight it. Duh; )
jon357 74 | 22,276
27 Jan 2021 #10
Drowning or burning Marzanna

I remember a teenage girl being drowned on that day a few years ago. It had happened before too.

hysteria against Halloween

I once attended a Dziady night; they still happen, albeit discreetly. One of the people takes the role of 'Guslarz'. It was interesting.
Ironside 51 | 12,442
28 Jan 2021 #11

Still, it mainly Polish, those are a cultural influences.

there's hysteria against Halloween,

It is a foreign customs that is not needed ...
jon357 74 | 22,276
28 Jan 2021 #12
a foreign customs

So is Christianity, unless Jesus was really called Przemysław and came from Rzeszów rather than Bet Lehem.

Christmas trees too, from Germany. Šw Mikołaj a Greek from what's now Turkey.

Every custom, every idea, every tradition has to start somewhere, only a few can truly be called home-grown.

And Halloween has been adopted wholeheartedly in Poland. As you may know, it's very big here now. Extremely big given all the celebrations, the merchandise, the special TV schedules. Bigger than in, say, the U.K. where Bonfire Night (and where I'm from, Mischievous Night) occurs at around the same time and also involves partying.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,116
28 Jan 2021 #13
Check out also Utopiec, Poludnica or Skarbnik if you haven't heard of them.

Kaprys you monster, now I'll be spending the whole night reading about them!

(thank you very much, I love this stuff!)
OP OdrowazP 8 | 40
28 Jan 2021 #14
😲 the second attempt to collect Polish Customs to assimilate into my life seems to be going very well !
Thank you
Mr Grunwald 33 | 2,200
30 Jan 2021 #15
Painting eggs in Easter, putting it in a basket (with some bread and sausage) then get it blessed with holy water at the church. It's a Polish-Catholic tradition
Atch 20 | 4,147
30 Jan 2021 #16
It's a Polish-Catholic tradition

It is, but it's not entirely unique to Poland. I think it originates further east as they bless eggs at the Orthodox Catholic services in Russia. Painting/decorating eggs also is not unique to Poland. Polish Easter is lovely though, nicer than their Christmas I think.
OP OdrowazP 8 | 40
30 Jan 2021 #17
@Mr Grunwald
Sausage? Like polish sausage right? Cooked or raw? Probably dumb question.
Mr Grunwald 33 | 2,200
30 Jan 2021 #18
It was the combination I was thinking about west+east you know :)

You wouldn't have to ask, if you knew the answer already. So there are no stupid questions in this regard

I haven't experienced them being cooked (kiełbasa)
OP OdrowazP 8 | 40
30 Jan 2021 #19
I know what the title here says, but I'm open to "neighboring" traditions as well, a bit, even though I am specifying Polish too.
mafketis 37 | 10,839
30 Jan 2021 #20
polish sausage right? Cooked or raw?

Usually dry smoked sausage.

More info here:

The picture shows the baskets on the table but just as often people hold their baskets (uncovering them) and the priests walking through the crowed sprinkling the baskes (and the faithful) with holy water, usually with a straw brush.
Ironside 51 | 12,442
31 Jan 2021 #21
Cooked or raw?

There are all kinds and variations, it could be made from a bear meat/ could be spicy or not, the best one are homemade ... by those who know what they are doing...

Usually dry smoked sausage.

the best, garlicky and nice.. my grandfather made it wholesome but my father liked more more garlicy and spicy. I think I will make it myself I haven't had a decent one for years...
pawian 223 | 24,567
30 Apr 2021 #22
The beginning of May is a cluster of bank holidays in Poland. 1st May - Labour Day. 2 May - Flag Day. 3 May - Constitution Day.

We went to the shopping centre to get supplies. We delayed it till 8pm but there were still huge crowds. Meat shelves completely empty. Nearly the same problem with bread.

Luckily, we had purchased our grill stuff earlier. Tomorrow is going to be a big party.
OP OdrowazP 8 | 40
30 Apr 2021 #23
😁 maybe too late for me, perhaps I still
have a chance to produce a Polish flag.
pawian 223 | 24,567
30 Apr 2021 #24
So, I covered two unique Polish customs at one blow.
First - May bank holidays.
Second - Poles buying things out to make up for potential shortages in future. Heritage of communism.

have a chance to produce a Polish flag.

It is very easy - take an Indonesian or Monegasque flag and turn it upside down to get the Polish one.

OP OdrowazP 8 | 40
30 Apr 2021 #25
I just meant tomorrow is May and I'm short of funds
pawian 223 | 24,567
30 Apr 2021 #26
I'm short of funds

Oh, I see. We were also warned that our salaries would be transfered on 4th May. :):)
pawian 223 | 24,567
6 Jun 2021 #27
I am not sure if it is unique but in Poland angry or disappointed readers might send the authors their books back. By mail. It happened during martial law when some popular writers took the regime`s side and vowed support for its dirty actions. They received a lot of books in retaliation by anticommunist patriotic readers. :)

Recently it happened to Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk who had tated in an interview that sth must be done with the persecution of LGBT people in Poland. She received a few books but...... now I admire the way she dealt with the issue - she declared she would offer the books for a charity auction to help persecuted LGBT. haha

How clever!
Ironside 51 | 12,442
6 Jun 2021 #28
How clever!

She is a dumb little idiot on par with other Soviets. Her talent went to waste paired with no brains.
pawian 223 | 24,567
6 Jun 2021 #29
She is a dumb

hahaha funny things saying you are, mr luke.

But you clearly forgot this thread is about unusual customs, not people. Try to comment on the custom instead of on her. :):)
Novichok 4 | 8,046
6 Jun 2021 #30
to help persecuted LGBT.

Why would anyone persecute the mentally ill? It's disgusting...

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