Customs and traditions
According to Abbreviationfinder, Poland’s customs and customs do not usually differ very much from the Swedish ones, although the details may be slightly different. Catholicism is the dominant religion, although it now faces liberal and secular currents in society and politics.
In the 1880s, similarities arose between Poles and Catholics, and during communism, churches served as sanctuaries for all who wanted to feel like Poles. Today, over 90 percent of the population say they are Poles, which means that they were born and raised in the Catholic tradition but are not necessarily practicing religious Catholics.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Poland, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
A foreign visitor can get two different pictures of the country depending on who he or she is talking to. Many are satisfied with the development of recent years, while others believe that the situation for Poland is tragic, that the country will soon go down, that Poland is a Russian-German protectorate and that democratically elected politicians are traitors who accidentally sit on their posts..
Polish food traditions are different from the Swedish ones and are influenced by German and Eastern European. The breakfast usually consists of sandwiches, different kinds of porridge and tea (herbata), which in Poland is much more common than coffee. In many workplaces, a “second breakfast”, consisting of tea, sandwich or fruit, is almost mandatory. After work, which usually ends between 14 and 16 in the afternoon, the Poles rush home to dinner, the most important and greatest meal of the day. Then three meals are eaten: a soup as an appetizer, the other one consists of meat or fish, potatoes or rice, and some vegetables or raw foods (for example sauerkraut). The meal ends with dessert. In the evening, cold sandwiches are usually eaten but sometimes some light main course.
Many do not eat meat on Fridays, of old Catholic tradition. Fish (seafood very rarely) is not counted as meat and is therefore allowed Friday food. Three days a year are offered “strict fast”: Good Friday, Ash Wednesday and Christmas Eve. On Christmas eve, however, you can eat really measured once, and then it should preferably be wigilia – 13 dishes without meat. Wigilia varies between different regions but one thing, the fatty fish carp, always occurs. It is grown in large ponds especially for Christmas Eve. Before Christmas you can see people on the streets carrying home bags of sprawling, live fish. The carp is cooked in many different ways: fried, in jelly, in Greek (in tomatoes), in Jewish (in sweet, with raisins) and so on.
Belongs to the vodka belt
Before Ash Wednesday, Fatty Day occurs when eating donuts (before noon at night!). These donuts correspond to bran – both in terms of tradition and the number of calories – and are roasted in large fat-filled vessels at certain pastries. They should be filled with rose marmalade. That day, long queues ring in front of these patisseries.
Other typical Polish dishes are beet soup: Ukrainian (with vegetables) or Lithuanian (without vegetables but with a special Polish ravioli). In the summer, a typical Polish dinner consists of chłodnik (cold soup on sour milk and fresh beet leaves), stuffed chicken, mizeria (cucumber salad in cream) and fresh potatoes. And vanilla ice cream for dessert. In winter it is not uncommon for golonka (large pork belly). A typical Polish dish that can always be found is bigos (long-cooked sauerkraut with game meat in small pieces). Previously, bigos were stored in barrels over the winter and if necessary, a piece of the frozen dish was chopped and crushed. Other popular foods are cold cuts, such as kabanosy (thin and long sausages).
Poland belongs to the so-called “vodka belt”. The word “vodka” means “the little water” in Polish. Nowadays, Poles drink beer more often than liquor. Wine, on the other hand, is rarely used, as it is relatively expensive.
In Poland, some courtesy traditions have long lived, such as men greeting women by kissing them on the hand. The men hold the door for women and let them pass first, women get on and off with the coat and men leave their seats to women on the bus or tram if all other places are occupied. For the situation of women in public life and in workplaces, see Social conditions.
According to Countryaah, the Christian holidays are pretty much the same as in Sweden: Easter, Pentecost, Halloween, Christmas and Anniversary. But the national holidays are different. May 3 is celebrated in memory of the Constitution of 1791 and Independence Day falls on November 11. Poles often take long leave in connection with the third May celebration. May 1st is celebrated in the same way as in Sweden, with trains and speeches in the labor movement. On November 2 (the day after Halloween, which always falls on November 1), the day of all souls (which is not a free day) occurs when light is lit on the graves. There is usually congestion and traffic jams at cemeteries and it looks tragic in the evening. Other work-free days are New Year’s Day (on the other hand, not New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve), Christ’s Body Day (a Thursday in June) and September 15, which is Marie’s Ascension Day.
Children usually leave school for one week during Christmas and New Year (December 23-January 1), two weeks in winter (January 14-February 24, depending on region), a few days in the spring (March 28-April 2) and on summer vacation (June 29 – September 1).
Poles celebrate naming days, not birthdays.
Suspected corruption at government level
Police arrest 18 people suspected of being involved in a corruption scandal surrounding the government’s purchase of computer systems. In the past, 17 people have been prosecuted. Among the now arrested are an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and sales managers at several IT companies. Investigators are investigating the purchase of computer equipment and services to the Ministry of the Interior and the national police headquarters for the equivalent of more than SEK 3 billion.
Right-wing protests against Russia
Right-wing nationalists demonstrate in Warsaw on National Day November 11 and carry out violent protests at the Russian embassy. Police shoot with rubber bullets to disperse participants. 72 people are arrested. A few days later, President Komorowski made an official apology to Russia, which requested it.
The Minister for the Environment is replaced
Environment Minister Marcin Korolec is dismissed in a government resignation when he chairs the UN International Climate Summit in Warsaw. His successor Maciej Grabowski is elected by Prime Minister Tusk to accelerate the extraction of shale gas in Poland.
Former Prime Minister Mazowiecki’s death
Poland’s first prime minister after the fall of communism (see Modern history), Tadeusz Mazowiecki, dies at the age of 86.
Trade union protests against the government
The trade unions conduct four-day protests against the government’s labor market and wage policy. On the fourth day, around 100,000 union members from all over the country gather in Warsaw. The protesters are protesting, among other things, against the increased retirement age (see May 2012) and demanding guarantees for jobs, healthcare and pension benefits.
Opposition candidate wins mayoral election
A representative of the opposition party PiS wins the mayoral election in the city of Elbląg. The city has been a stronghold for the government party Citizens’ Platform, and the result is interpreted as a hint that the government’s position is faltering.
The EU stops billion-dollar aid
Suspected corruption in major road construction projects causes the EU to withhold infrastructure support equivalent to SEK 7.7 billion to Poland. According to new figures, economic growth is slowing down.