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Interesting customs and traditions in Poland

Hello everyone,

Living outside of our home country requires us to adapt to a new culture and different traditions. What are some of the cultural specifics in Poland?

What are some of the traditional beliefs and cultural practices that you have encountered in Poland that are different to your home country?

Tell us a bit more about some of the customs that you’ve found interesting, such as communication style, food, greetings, laws, or festivities.

What were your initial reactions and how did you adapt to them?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

Polish cemeteries become a dazzling if eerie blaze of orange on evenings just before November 1, All Saints' Day; candles are on every grave. Christmas is celebrated a little more modestly, though more meaningfully, than in North America; the family dinner and gift exchange is on Christmas Eve. People put up their  tree later -- sometimes only a few days before Dec. 25 -- and it may stay until February 2. Likewise, the country's beautiful carols are sung at churches until this date, and Christmas pageants may take place in January. "Three Kings Day", January 6, is now a national holiday.

This non-Roman-Catholic foreigner confesses to finding so many other church holidays a bit of a nuisance. Interestingly, they don't include Good Friday, though Easter Monday is off, and just as well: the national "Wet Monday" tradition is to go around throwing water at loved ones, friends, neighbours, and passers-by. The two main national holidays, on November 11 and May 3, are unfortunately marked sometimes by ugly displays of pseudo-patriotism (banners calling for a "white Europe" and the like; you get the picture). Those seeking a more authentic and pleasant Poland may seek out one of the lively village harvest festivals that occur at weekends in the late summer.

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