Wednesday, July 29, 2015

~Poland Week~ Day 3: Customs and Holidays

Yesterday: Entertainment and Sports

Poland has about a 90% population of Catholics among its citizens.This has, without a doubt, affected customs and traditions among the people of the country. Religion plays an important role and is embedded in Polish culture. Family bonds also play a huge role in this society. The individual's obligations and priorities are first to family. Polish families also develop an inner circle of close friends. This inner circle will extend favors to one another and be a reliable support to the family. The use of first names is also limited to those within your inner circle. When first meeting it is customary to only use titles and last names to refer to one another. Among the characteristics that are valued in Poland honesty is at the top of the list. They tend to speak their minds frankly and encourage the same in others. The closer they are to someone the more honest and direct they will be.

When it comes to superstitions and etiquette there are a few things to be mindful of. For instance, flowers are usually given to a host when you are invited to their home and it is customary to give an odd number. The colors to avoid are red and white. Especially avoid yellow chrysanthemums because they are used at funerals.

Holidays also play a special role in Poland. Religious holidays like Christmas and All Saint's Day are considered national holidays. On Christmas families gather and participate in "dzielenie oplatkiem". This is the act of breaking and sharing a thin wafer called "oplatek". During this activity families give well wishes for the new year. On All Saint's Day families visit cemeteries and honor the loved ones that have passed away.
The last holiday I will talk about is Woman's Day which is on March 8th. This day was established during communist times and is still valued and celebrated now. Great achievements made by women globally and economically are celebrated. On this day women are given flowers and treated with great respect. I can get behind a holiday like that!

Now for something more upbeat! How about some Polish Traditional dancing and singing?

Tomorrow we will be learning about Food with our Polish friends! Expect that post to come a bit late!

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