Polish Tradition

All Saints/All Souls Day in Polonia

By Robert Strybel, Our Warsaw Correspondent


November 1st and 2nd have for centuries been celebrated by Catholics world-wide, and
Poland (together with some Romance-language nations) has observed it with particular devotion. The custom came over to America with Polonia’s immigrant pioneers who celebrated the first two days of November, November 2nd being the holy day of obligation. In a sense, both feastdays have been set aside to honor those who have gone on to their eternal reward. All Saints Day is the day people pray to their officially canonized patron saints as well honoring all those unknown and unnamed souls who have gone to heaven. Since no mortals know what the fate of those who have ‚crossed over’ may be, All Souls’ Day (Zaduszki or Dzien Zaduszny) has been devoted to honoring one’s own dearly departed and praying to God to show mercy to the poor souls in purgatory.

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Doll Polish Dancers
Polish Tradition

Do you really know your Polish heritage?

By Robert Strybel, Our Warsaw Correspondent

According to the latest US Census, just over nine million Americans have been identified as having Polish ancestry, or about 3.3% of the total population. In states known for their sizable Polonian concentrations (including Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut) we are speaking of 10-12% of the overall population and in certain metropolitan areas it may be higher than that. But even in those heavily Polish-populated areas, are 10% or even 3% of the things people see around them and come into contact with conspicuously Polish? That, of course, is a rhetorical question, to which everybody knows the answer!

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Polish Eagle over American flag
Polish Tradition

October – Polish American Heritage Month

Polish American Heritage Month was first celebrated in 1981 in Pennsylvania. Originally, August was the month selected to focus in on the contributions of great Americans of Polish descent that were often not recognized. Michael Blichasz of Philadelphia, a fourth generation Polish American, started in an effort to bring to the forefront the strong pride he believed all Americans of Polish heritage should have in the successes that Polish Americans have made in America.

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Polish Wedding
Polish Tradition

Polish traditions at your next family wedding.

Polish WeddingBy Robert Strybel
From time to time I receive inquiries from all over North America about Polish wedding traditions. They come not only from Polish Americans wishing to satisfy their ethnic curiosity, but also from couples who would like to incorporate certain elements of their Polish heritage in the scenario of their big day. The complete Polish country wedding of yesterday would be difficult to revive in today’s America, since it comprised elaborate match-making customs, dowries, hope chests and other antiquated practices. Occasionally, however, mock Polish weddings are staged here and there across Polonia as pageants in order to re-enact all the quaint old traditions.
 
 

At a Polish wedding, the bride’s father does not give his daughter away at church — she’s not a piece of property! 

What is important is the parental blessing which takes place at the home of the bride prior to the church ceremony. The bridegroom goes to the bride’s home to take her to church, but first her parents bestow their blessing on the bride and groom – to – be. A crucifix, a lighted candle, a bowl of holy water and a sprinkler (if the regular Polish brush-type sprinkler is not available, this can be a leafy tree branch) should be prepared. Flowers in a vase are always a nice touch. Either kneelers or fancy cushions are provided for the bride and groom to kneel on. They hold hands as they kneel in front of their parents. Traditionally the mother of the bride gives the blessing. Here is one of many possible blessings: 

„Niech Pan Bóg wszechmog1cy obdarzy Was zdrowiem, szczesciem i wzajemna miloscia na Waszej nowej, wspólnej drodze zycia i niech Was poblogoslawi licznym, zdrowym potomstwem — owocem Waszej miloci. I ja Was blogoslawie: W imie Ojca i Syna i Ducha Swietego. Amen.” 

(Translation: May God Almighty grant you health, happiness and mutual love on your new road through life together and may He bless you with numerous, healthy children — the fruit of your love. And I also bless you: In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.) 
The mother then sprinkles the bride and groom – to – be with Holy Water, whereupon they make the Sign of the Cross. She then gives them the crucifix to kiss. The father of the bride may utter a blessing of his own or simply sprinkle the couple with Holy Water. The bridegroom’s parents may also impart their blessing. Others, for instance grandparents, or godparents may also bless the couple. 

After the blessing, the bride and groom thank, hug and kiss their parents and the wedding party prepares to leave for church. (The wedding party usually comprises the parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen, the young couple’s siblings, possibly also grandparents, godparents or other close relatives or friends of the family. 

As the bridal party leaves, musicians (perhaps only a single accordionist) plays ‚Serdeczna Matko’. 

The betrothed enter the church together as fiancés and leave it as man and wife. Hymns played and/or sung during the ceremony traditionally include ‚Veni Creator’ and Gounod’s ‚Ave Maria’. Mendelssohn’s ‚Wedding March’ is usually played as the recessional hymn when the bride and groom walk down the aisle to the back of the church after the ceremony as man and wife. 

A highly symbolic Polish touch during the marriage ceremony is the priest’s blessing. The bride and groom’s entwined hands are wrapped with the priest’s stole as a sign of permanent unity in the eyes of God and the Holy Mother Church, whereupon the priest bestows his blessing and sprinkles the couple with Holy Water. 

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Krzysztof Majcher
Polish Tradition

Współczesny zbój Szydło

Oryginalny przewodnik po regionie świętokrzyskim

Krzysztof MajcherPan Krzysztof Majcher, dzięki swojemu nietypowemu strojowi, przyciąga rzesze wycieczek, które pod pieczą takiego przewodnika chcą zwiedzać zakątki Gór Świętokrzyskich.

– Kocham moją pracę, zatem aby spełnić się w niej należycie ubieram się w tradycyjny strój zbójecki, aby zadziałać tym sposobem na wyobraźnię oprowadzanych przeze mnie wycieczkowiczów- opowiada pan Krzysztof.

W piwnicy Domu Kultury w niewielkiej miejscowości Mostki, urządzone mam specjalne lokum, w którym wyeksponowane są narzędzia tortur i codziennego użytku, które stanowiły niegdyś niezbędny ekwipunek zbójeckiego rzemiosła.

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Norbert Skorodzień
Polish Tradition

Bractwo artyleryjskie z Kielc Powrót do lat przeszłych

Norbert SkorodzieńW Kielcach, od lat działa Bractwo Artyleryjskie, którego prezesem jest pan Norbert Skorodzień. Zadaniem tego stowarzyszenia militarnego, jest kultywowanie polskiej tradycji patriotycznej, wśród młodych mieszkańców regionu świętokrzyskiego.

Członkowie wspomnianego bractwa, odziani są w siedemnastowieczne stroje, które w tamtym okresie uznawane były za eleganckie nowum. Członkowie bractwa kieleckiego, we własnym zakresie zakupują sobie potrzebne materiały na uszycie odpowiedniego stroju, jak też i samo jego wykonanie, leży w gestii każdego z nich. Głównym zadaniem wspomnianego bractwa, jest inscenizowanie działań wojennych polskiego wojska, w walce z potopem szwedzkim.

Jak wszyscy wiemy, wojna polsko-szwedzka rozgrywająca się o Inflanty w latach 1600-1611 stanowiła dalszy ciąg sporów dotyczących podziału ziem dawnego zakonu kawalerów mieczowych. Dodatkowym czynnikiem była też walka o tron szwedzki między Karolem Sudermańskim, a Zygmuntem III Wazą. Podczas takowych pokazów scen historycznych, rycerze z Kielc, chętnie inscenizują wybuchy armatnie, czego dokonują starsi nad armatą.

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Brak grafiki
Polish Tradition

Polish Americans – A Vibrant Ethnic Community in the United States

There are about 10 million Polish Americans, and they make up the 9th-largest ethnic community in the United States. Polish Americans played a major role in bringing freedom to Poland in past decades, including support of the Solidarity movement and Poland’s entry into NATO. Today, Polish Americans benefit from a special relationship between the U.S. and Poland.

The large wave of emigrants that came during and after the Solidarity movement brought a new vitality to Polish American life, both in Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S. It has helped Polonia to be better-organized, and has also re-energized the business and cultural life of the Polish American community. The Chicago metropolitan area is, of course, the largest center of Polish American life—with most of the national headquarters of Polish American organizations, hundreds of smaller organizations, many major cultural institutions, a great many churches which offer Polish Masses, over 30 Polish “Saturday schools,” and thousands of businesses.

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Brak grafiki
Polish Tradition

Polish-flavored events and celebrations for May

Both in Poland and across Polonia, the warmer months of the year provide numerous occasions for various fun, festivities and celebrations. Here are some of them.

Majówka – May outing (pronounced: mah-YOOF-kah): This is the name given to the year’s first picnics and outings. In our excessively complex, high-tech era there, this can mean nothing more than a family and/or group of friends getting together and heading for the nearest green patch of nature – a park, grove, woods, forest clearing, riverbank, etc. – with baskets of food and some blankets to spread it on and the picnickers on. If someone brings along an accordion, guitar or other instrument to entertain the gathering and/or accompany a sing-along, so much the better.

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Brak grafiki
Polish Tradition

Why and how Poles celebrate namedays

By Rob Strybel, Polish/Polonian Affairs Writer

Unlike most other nations, the people of Catholic Poland tend to attach more importance to the feastday of their patron saint than to birthdays. In the past, this was common in other Catholic countries such as Austria and Bavaria (southern Germany) where the Namenstag was once widely celebrated. Birthdays with cakes and blowing out candles are now commonly held for children in Poland, largely as a result of the strong American influence with which television bombards today’s audiences. But, on into the early 21st century, among adults, imieniny (namedays) were still far more popular.

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