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Advice needed on a Polish funeral/customs in the UK


olfrog 1 | -
3 Apr 2014 #1
Hi there,

We've just lost our polish grandfather and wanted to know how, given that we are in the UK, we ensure that his funeral recognises Polish culture. I've scanned the site for advice, and while much of the funeral customs are similar to the UK ones (Catholic or Protestant), there are a few customs that are different.

Please could you let us know whether we have understood these wrong, and whether there is anything else we should consider? Thanks a lot !

- We need to get some Polish soil for the burial (does anyone know how we can do this in the UK?)
- Wear a black ribbon to mourn the dead, sometimes for a whole year
- For music, we should try to use Chopin's "Marche Funebre" and the hymn "witan krolowo nieba"
- For funeral notices (and graves?) we should use the phrase, S+P before his name, meaning Swietej Pamieci, and sometimes an hourglass too
- There is a memorial mass on the first anniversary of the death
Kowalski 7 | 621
3 Apr 2014 #2
We need to get some Polish soil for the burial (does anyone know how we can do this in the UK?

- You need just a handful of soil. It is thrown into grave first, by close member of a family

Wear a black ribbon to mourn the dead, sometimes for a whole year
- 6 months for grandpa, 1 year for mother/father, other relatives 3 months:

dressingmrsl.blogspot.com/2010/04/zaloba-w-polsce-zaloba-wsrod-polonii.html

For funeral notices (and graves?) we should use the phrase, S+P before his name, meaning Swietej Pamieci, and sometimes an hourglass too
- it is Ś P with a cross in between. Like in the photograph here:

Mourning in Poland , mourning among the Polish community

In the face of this tragedy, I feel more a Pole than when our athletes have won gold medals at international sporting events.

I bought a black ribbon , I wear it in the lapel in the period of national mourning . Flag lowered to half- mast . Friends call of condolence .

Strange to me , sad and terribly together.


There is a memorial mass on the first anniversary of the death
- yes. And dinner after the funeral for all ceremony participants
Postie41
1 Aug 2021 #3
Have been close to a polish couple, the husband recently died, and being a friend I said that I'd help the widow if I could. Everything fine until I said that I was married - what have I done wrong ? As we haven't spoken for a month now, thanks.
jon357 67 | 17,053
1 Aug 2021 #4
- what have I done wrong ?

Probably nothing. It isn't unusual for people in Poland to have a lot of contact with someone then drop them suddenly. I've heard many people in PL from other places mention this over the years.
Postie41
1 Aug 2021 #5
Thanks, was wondering that if I was a single man, then it would have been different ? Just heartbreaking after going through so much together, hopefully time will heal things. Heard that in Poland,families etc may look after the widow, because she hasn't many friends,could it just be a misunderstanding ?
Lenka 3 | 2,735
1 Aug 2021 #6
Have been close to a polish couple

Everything fine until I said that I was married

Yyy, you said you were close with them and then say they didn't know you were married?
Postie41
1 Aug 2021 #7
Fairly close, I'm their postman (15 years), guess some things get forgotten or overlooked. I had done everything as a friend, as they didn't know many people in the UK. Wasn't until after the funeral that she wanted to talk about me - didn't think anymore of it. Accomplice more than friend ?

PS being friendly I'd said that I would always help if I could, just ask, didn't see anything wrong with that. Was that taken the wrong way/or is there a problem with a married man helping a widow ? Would that be a culture thing ?
Lenka 3 | 2,735
1 Aug 2021 #8
didn't see anything wrong with that.

There isn't unless the lady is a bit weird and took it the wrong way.
More likely is that we have here different approach to people. What you described would be never described by being close by a Pole. Someone you like etc but never took it to the next step. People like that we don't bother with our grief.
Postie41
1 Aug 2021 #9
Thanks, maybe being English I just got over involved and read too much into it. Possibly the shock of everything has affected us differently, just a shame I may have lost someone who I really like.
mafketis 29 | 9,870
1 Aug 2021 #10
What you described would be never described by being close by a Pole

Yeah, he's a znajomy (at most a kolega) and not a przyjaciel... English speakers have a hard time grasping the differences in meaning (and the differences in behavior that come from them).
Postie41
1 Aug 2021 #11
I will go for an acquaintance then, and yeah it's hard to understand the differences between some Polish meanings ! Thanks everyone for your help during a difficult time for me.


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