Prima Aprilis in Poland

… That’s Polish for April Fool’s Day 😉

April Fool’s is one of the many Western traditions that has made its way into Polish traditions, others include Valentine’s Day and Halloween.

Growing up, I don’t actually remember Valentine’s Day being there (and I should know, being born on that day!) – it might have been the iron curtain. I do remember International Women’s Day – or ‘Dzien Kobiet’ as it’s called in Poland. Boys at school would be making cards and bringing in flowers and putting them on girls’ desks, yep we loved it …. and women would receive flowers at work…. it was an interesting time.
International Women’s Day is still very much celebrated in Poland, especially with it being a very traditional culture, with ladies often being ladies – which implies men trying their best to be romantic on that day, flowers being must! 🙂

Valentine’s Day has definitely made its way into the Polish calendar now… You will find Valentine’s Day cards all over the shops, and magazines give ideas on how to make the day extra special with home made dishes and hand made gifts. I find growing up, lot of emphasis was always placed on making things yourself (be it growing fruit & vegetables, making clothes, knitting jumpers, making cards, boats for the lake or bird houses…) and although the Western consumerism is visible everywhere (and those childhood days were in the 80’s :)), those traditional roots of making things at home remain very much part of the culture.

We also had a music programme on TV in the 80’s called ‘Koncert Zyczen’ – meaning ‘Concert of Wishes’. It was basically people writing in with birthday, anniversary and Name Day wishes, the hosts would read the wishes out and every couple cards, there would be a dedicated song with a music video …. this was literally my equivalent of MTV in the 80’s – and i loved it!

Name Days are another thing that’s very different in Poland and a lot of people tend to celebrate it more than Birthdays (yep, so effecively we get presents twice!! 🙂 ) Although Birthdays have come swooping in, the day that your Saint’s name comes up in the calendar (thus Name Day – you often choose the one closest to your birthdya) – is often the main celebration…. Oh, and forget the host being pampered at the party…. in Poland, if you are the host – you make it all happen! You are the queen of the night who will cook, decorate and behave like a proper host …. whether it’s your birthday or not 😉 .

Read more about Poland on my website


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