We all agree that every country has customs that shock and confuse foreigners. Indeed there is the same in Poland. It’s a country with a long and traditional history as through the years, it has experienced many political and geographical changes. Polish people celebrate special occasions and often do things that are really jaw-dropping, but are considered perfectly normal here. I am gonna share some of these customs that I got from natives from everyday life and can say that I’ve already been part of it.
Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek)
On the final Thursday before Lent each year, Polish people celebrate Tłusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday). On this day, all over Poland, people eat their favorite sweet and sugary snacks and they don’t count calories. Normally the Polish eat Pączki on this day. Pączki are Polish-style doughnuts normally filled with rose or raspberry jam. Another popular treat that the Polish love to eat on Fat Thursday are Faworki, which are pieces of fried pastry dipped in a sugary coating.
Wet Monday (Śmigus Dyngus)
One of the crazier days on the Polish calendar is Wet Monday , known as Śmigus Dyngus. On this day, boys soak girls with water. It is an age-old tradition that has existed for generations. On this particular morning, boys all over the country sneak into the bedrooms of the girls and wake them up by pouring water on them. The theme continues throughout the day. It is an age-old tradition that has existed for generations. There are special water fight events also organized on this day. The girls who end up the wettest are said to be the ones who will get married first.
Sto Lat / 100 Years
Poland might well be the only country in the world where everyone wishes their friends to live for “100 years” on every birthday. This tradition occurs every time somebody has a birthday. Expect a friend to appear with a tray full of vodka shots, announcing ‘Sto Lat’ (100 years) before launching into the famous ‘Sto Lat’ song, and the birthday guy or girl is expected to raise a toast.
Twelve Dishes on Christmas Eve (Wigilia)
If u are in Poland over the Christmas period, you will begin to realize how religious a country it truly is. From church services to family get-togethers to days where businesses are completely shut, this is a country that has interesting Christmas Traditions. On Christmas Eve, there is a tradition known as Wigilia. This involves twelves dishes being served , one to represent every disciple, and shared by the family. None of the dishes can contain meat, none can be the same, and some of the dishes are indeed cooked only on this day. Many families also leave out an extra plate on Christmas Eve, for the ‘unexpected visitor’ that might arrive. Although there is no meat but fish.
Of course, there is still a lot to explore and still many traditions that surprise foreigners but these were the ones that I’ve experienced and have been part of while living here and wanted to share. I am pretty sure that I still have a lot to explore and promise, I’ll keep you updated. ;))