Halloween or the Feast of the Dead? Is either of the holidays better?
Although Halloween is gaining popularity in Poland, there are still claims that it is a pagan holiday. Not only did it come to us from the US, but it also wants to replace our Polish Day of the Dead. Is this true?
The origins of the Polish Day of the Dead and Halloween are very similar.
Both pagans and early Christians worshipped their dead. In the 14th century, All Saints’ Eve was introduced (in English-speaking countries called “All Hallows’ Eve” – later the name was shortened to Halloween). It was then that the faithful needed to pray for the dead to all the saints. People also needed a holiday to tame their fear of death, cold and long nights.
So can we compare these Holidays?
Nowadays you can see how different these Holidays have gone, although they started out similarly. In the States, or the UK, Halloween is a joyous holiday, full of dressing up, spooky decorations, collecting candy, pranks and parties. In Poland, a quieter tradition has taken hold – we visit the graves of the dead members of our Families, leaving a candle and praying for them.
Therefore, instead of comparing, it is better to have a good time with friends on Halloween, and visit the graves of loved ones the next day. Then no one will feel disadvantaged. In Polish culture, the need to visit cemeteries on the Day of the Dead is so deeply rooted that there is no need to worry that it will be supplanted by Halloween.
2 in 1 – that is, good fun and a time of reflection.
Isn’t it beautiful that in Poland we can have 2 in 1? Even if we return late from a Halloween party on October 31, the next day we will be eager to visit the graves of loved people who have died. After all, the beauty of a lighted cemetery with lots of flowers and that nostalgic atmosphere are unique and worth cultivating.
And what KLUB DIALOGU says about it?
KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School is a tolerant and open to dialogue school, where students from all over the world learn. That’s why it’s so important to share your traditions and culture with others, but also to draw from other good models. Such an attitude enriches and creates a place that is friendly to everyone. That’s why in our Polish language courses you can feel comfortable and learning is a pleasure.
PRAGA – is an area of Warsaw on the right-hand bank of the Vistula River. During World War II, Praga was not badly damaged, so the specific Praga folklore has been preserved. You can find many gems here, such as shrines in the backyards of tenement houses and traditional craft workshops. Recently, Praga has become a very popular place among artists and tourists.
Street Art. In Praga
STREET ART is an art form that originated in the mid-1990s: graffiti, murals, stickers, and artwork. It is art without limits, free in its nature!
Looking for murals in the city is a creative pleasure and a way to spend time actively. There are many murals in Praga, and all of them can be reached by bike or on foot.
Unfortunately, time and weather conditions have a large negative impact on street works. Falling plaster from buildings, repairs of tenement houses, changeable weather mean that this extraordinary art is destroyed. So do not hesitate and start this fascinating journey today.
1. Duel [Duel], ul. Środkowa 23
2. The longer you wait for the future [Im dłużej czekasz na przyszłość], ul. Stalowa 38
3. Ania and columns [Ania i Kolumny], ul. Stalowa 50
4. Factory owner [Właściciel fabryki], ul. Stalowa 46
5. Mural [Mural], ul. Szwedzka 2/4
6. 63 days in the life in Warsaw [63 dni z życia Warszawy], ul. Grodzieńska 20
7. Temple [Świątynia], ul. Mała 8
8. Deyna [Deyna], ul. Inżynierska 4
9. Praga bag [Praska torba], ul. Inżynierska 3
10. Desperados [Desperados], ul. Ząbkowska 2
11. Little angel [Aniołek], ul. Ząbkowska 2
12. Deyna [Deyna], ul. Brzeska 16
13. Big goose [Wielka Gęś], ul. Brzeska 14a
14. Your mother of god [Twoja Matka Boska], ul. Brzeska 17a
SIMPLE POLISH GRAMMAR. Excuse me, how do I get to KLUB DIALOGU?
‘I learned about it in the kitchen’, meaning why is it worth learning Polish?
Warsaw is a dynamic, multicultural city. Global corporations operate here, which means that both Poles and foreigners alike work in Warsaw. Very often people speak English at work because it is the official language in the office. It is interesting that in such a situation the Polish language becomes an informal language: Poles like to talk to their colleagues about private matters in Polish. This also means that the Polish language helps in integrating with other people from work who speak Polish. If you work near Rondo Daszyńskiego, you can easily reach us.
‘Excuse me, how do I get to KLUB DIALOGU?’. Learn the meaning of selected ‘motion verbs’
Żeby dojechać do Szkoły KLUB DIALOGU, proszę wsiąść do tramwaju 22 lub 24 na Rondzie Daszyńskiego, przejechać 4 przystanki, wysiąść na przystanku Dworzec Centralny, przejść przez ulicę, dojść do bramy wejściowej, wybrać kod, wejść schodami na pierwsze piętro i przejść przez próg lokalu numer 4. Dzieli nas zaledwie 15 minut!
Czasowniki ruchu w języku polskim są bardzo interesujące. O tym, w którym kierunku będziemy się poruszać, informuje prefiks (mała cząstka, która jest na początku). Najpopularniejsze czasowniki to czasowniki ruchu, na przykład: iść (pieszo/na piechotę), jechać (np. tramwajem) oraz wsiąść (do jakiegoś środka transportu).
The grammar of the Polish language is very logical, and the teachers at the KLUB DIALOGU School are great at explaining it during Polish language courses. Learning Polish is enjoyable, and using the acquired skills is very satisfying, for example when we understand what is gossiped about in work kitchens and canteens ;). Our school’s offer can be found HERE.
The mermaid is a symbol of Warsaw. The oldest Mermaid dates back to 1400 and looked different than today. Then it took the form of a person with wings and a tail. It’s belly was covered with scales. The mermaid turned into a girl with a fish tail only in 1622. Today, the Mermaid holds a sword and a shield in its hand.
The Mermaid dated from XVII century
How many Mermaids are there in total in Warsaw? No one has counted. There are a lot of them in the Old Town. But not only. You can find them on buildings, lamp posts, stained glass windows, and signboards. Look around carefully, because Mermaids can be found in many places in Warsaw.
Where can you see the Warsaw Mermaid?
1. The Old Town
Go to the Old Town Square. There, in the middle of the square, you will surely notice the Mermaid right away. The monument was made of bronze zinc in 1855. This mermaid was severely damaged during World War II and restored in 1951.
This is the most famous Warsaw Mermaid. It was made of bronze in 1939. It is 4.5 meters tall. The originator of this Mermaid was Stefan Starzyński, the mayor of Warsaw, and the creator – Ludwika Nitschowa. Fortunately, the monument was not destroyed during World War II.
3. Park Mirowski
Here, the Mermaid is a concrete sculpture, and it’s tail is originally bent and forms a bowl shape.
4. Wiadukt Markiewicza, Karowa Street
A mermaid has decorated this viaduct since 1905.
5. Inżynierska Street
You will not find a monument here. Look for the bas-relief located on the building of the former tram depot. Have a nice experience!
6. Katowicka Street, Saska Kępa
To find the Mermaid, you have to walk around the building of the B. Prus High School. On the side wall, from the side of Katowicka Street, there is a bas-relief made by Wojciech Czerwosz.
7. Grochowska Street, Praga Południe
In front of the Praga Południe District Office, the Mermaid modestly looks down. It has neither a shield nor a sword, but it still inspires the respect of passers-by.
8. Filter Station Complex, Koszykowa Street
The Filter Station complex consists of historic buildings built in 1883–1886. The bas-relief of the Mermaid, made by Jan Goliński, was placed on the building of the Rapid Filters Plant.
9. Sejm, Wiejska Street
This Mermaid is hard to see because it is located on the wooden balustrade of government benches in the Seym Hall.
Soldiers of the British Queen’s Royal Hussars wear a patch with the Warsaw Mermaid on the left sleeve of their uniforms. This privilege was granted to them by General Władysław Anders for the support given to Polish soldiers during the Battle of Ancona in 1944.
Would you like to start learning Polish, but you don’t know where to start? Start by checking your language level! Why is it so important?
At what level should I start learning Polish?
KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School for Foreigners teaches many levels. Learning for non-Slavic speakers starts from the A0 level. It is an important course that familiarises the student with the structure and specificity of the Polish language, the most important phrases and information that will be useful on the street, in a shop or in a restaurant. Due to the linguistic similarity, students from Ukraine, Belarus or Russia can start from A1 level.
The next stages of learning Polish are the levels: A1 (beginner), A2 (elementary), B1 (pre-intermediate), B2 (intermediate), C1 (advanced).
How to learn Polish effectively? Get to know the learning process at KLUB DIALOGU School
At the KLUB DIALOGU school, the learning process is divided into smaller units, known as modules, thanks to which the groups are homogeneous, i.e. students in a given group have very similar skills.
How does it look in practice? Each level (A1, A2, B1, B2) is divided into 5 modules (e.g.: A1.1, A1.2. A1.3, A1.4, A1.5). Learning in such a system becomes extremely effective, and students can notice significant progress. However, this means that a placement test is not only advisable, but also necessary. The result of the test gives a strong recommendation which Polish language course will best suit your skills. An additional conversation with the school methodologist will precisely outline the student’s strengths as well as areas for improvement.
Benefits of learning Polish at KLUB DIALOGU
Thanks to the defined program of learning Polish as a foreign language at the KLUB DIALOGU School, the student does not incur unnecessary costs or lose valuable time as a result of inadequate group placement. In addition, you can clearly define your learning goals and the timeline for implementing them.
Have you seen the M-shaped entrances to the Metro in Warsaw? Or maybe you noticed the names of the stations: Świętokrzyska, Uniwersytet or Rondo ONZ? These are things that reveal Wojciech Fangor’s character.
Wojciech Fangor (1922 – 2015) – a well-known Polish painter, draftsman, sculptor and poster artist. He is considered one of the last “great masters” of the 20th century. In the early 1960s, he became famous for his ‘pulsating’ painting – abstract paintings that gave the impression of movement. His painting experiments were groundbreaking not only in Poland, but likewise in art around the globe.
The works of this famous Varsovian can be found in various places in the city. Only 300 meters from KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School there are other, often ignored by passers-by, Fangor accents that decorate our surroundings. An ordinary subway journey to a Polish language course can be a time to encounter colourful mosaics. What are we talking about here?
It’s worth looking around!
The mosaics that decorate the Warsaw Śródmieście Railway Station were entered into the national register of monuments last year. In total, there are 52 ceiling mosaics – it’s worth looking up sometimes! – as well as 27 mosaics that are in the halls and in the former waiting rooms along the side platforms. The tiles were made in the Faience Works in Włocławek, and some of the necessary dyes were even imported from Italy.
From reverie to celebration. Have you already experienced Polish holidays and parties celebrated in November and December?
November is behind us, which is considered by many Poles to be the bluest month. While it begins with reflection and memories (Day of the Dead), it ends mysteriously, magically, and joyfully.
‘Andrzejki’ – Polish fun for unmarried women
Andrzejki is a very popular holiday among Poles. In the past, on the night of November 29-30, on the eve of Saint Andrew the Apostle, unmarried girls did fortune-telling in the hope of finding or winning their beloved man. Today, anyone can do fortune-telling, and thanks to good fun, the tradition remains very much alive. Fortune telling can be made from cast wax into a bowl through a keyhole, shoes, cards, or everyday objects placed in a row.
The KLUB DIALOGU Polish School for Foreigners hosted a fantastic St. Andrew’s Day event for our students. The teachers in the role of fairies were just as great as during Polish language lessons. And some of the predictions came true 100%.
‘Barbórka’ – Polish feast of miners and steelworkers
Another important day in the Polish calendar is December 4. It is the day of Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners. Barbórka is the feast of Saint Barbara, very grandly celebrated primarily in Silesia, where the largest number of mines are located.
Do you know the animated Polish fairy tale for children ‘Bolek and Lolek among the miners’? It’s a cult fairy tale, so it’s worth watching, although it doesn’t use Polish. We can deduce from it how important mining was to the Polish economy in the 1950s – 1980s, and the term “black gold” for coal remains to this day.
Motorsports enthusiasts probably know the ‘Barbórka Rally’, which ends the rally season. This year, the rally will be held for the 60th time! The schedule of the Warsaw races can be found HERE.
‘Mikołajki’ – this Polish holiday is awaited by both the young and old
Throughout the year, both the young and old wait for the arrival of Santa Claus during Christmas. In Poland, we have great news for all impatient people! On December 6th, we celebrate ‘mikołajki’! The custom itself has been known on Polish lands for a long time, and until the 19th century, December 6 was even a day off from work. Now, ‘mikołajki’ is most often celebrated in schools for children, community centres, but also in the KLUB DIALOGU Polish School for Foreigners. We give each other small gifts. This is great Polish fun, bringing a lot of joy.
New Year’s Eve (‘Sylwester’) is the inevitable end of the year
The year ends with ‘sylwester’! The last night of December took its name from the name day of New Year’s Eve and the liturgical memory of Pope Sylwester I. On this holiday in Poland, we want to close the calendar year without disputes and debts. How else can we bring happiness to the coming year? One way is not cleaning on December 31st. The reason is very simple – by sweeping dust, we can also sweep happiness! Air bubbles in a glass of champagne can also have a symbolic meaning – large, irregular, and chaotic ones mean many changes, small bubbles mean balance in personal life and good health. Certainly, each bubble is a representation of success in learning Polish ?!
Language trivia – check if you know
Did you know that the names of Polish games, customs, and rituals are written with a small letter: andrzejki, mikołajki, sylwester (even if they come from the name – Andrzej, Mikołaj or Sylwester). Barbórka is a Polish holiday, which is why we write it with a capital letter.
Sad events in the world took over the beginning of 2022. KLUB DIALOGU report
The year 2022 was full of many events that, from a global point of view, have had tragic consequences. Of course, we are talking about Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine and the cruel war being waged against the country’s civilians. We also remember the huge wave of refugees on the border, terrorised by the Belarusian authorities and treated in no less cruel way by the Polish authorities. Read the KLUB DIALOGU report and learn more.
Action taken by KLUB DIALOGU School
The KLUB DIALOGU school categorically opposes all these tragic events, not only in word but also in deed. When the first protests began under the slogan: ‘Stop torture at the border!’ – we couldn’t miss it. Walking through the streets of Warsaw, we wanted to express that we show solidarity with people who are hurt, whose chance for a normal life is taken away just because they were born in a country affected by war or a humanitarian crisis.
The war in Ukraine mobilised us to: initiate the collection of things and money for its inhabitants, organise free Polish language courses, participate in humanitarian convoys, take home refugees, and many, many other activities. See our blog post.
KLUB DIALOGU manifesto
KLUB DIALOGU’s manifesto is simple and unambiguous. We, as employees of the KLUB DIALOGU Polish School for Foreigners, which is not only an educational institution, but also a meeting place for people from different continents and cultures, cannot accept a situation where the law and international conventions are broken.
We would also like to thank OUR STUDENTS who supported and continue to support our initiatives – it is thanks to you that we can learn tolerance and openness. Thank you for your lessons for us and for being you!
We are constantly working for you and organising new Polish language courses
The summer holiday period (June, July, August) turned this structure upside down as usual ?. Intensive courses prevailed (3 hours a day, every day), and students could additionally learn Polish, have fun, and chat during unique integration events. This year we invited our students to: KLUB DIALOGU’s birthday party, a trip to the Zoo in Łódź, bowling, silent disco dances and salsa, and canoeing on the Wkra River. See the summer holiday movie.
Polish as a foreign language exam at B1 level
In 2022, we managed to conduct 4 exams for the State Certificate in Polish as a Foreign Language at B1 level. 190 people took part in four examination sessions appointed by the State Commission (in February, March, June, and November), and 179 passed the test and received the Certificate. Congratulations!
You too can take the exam and get the Certificate. Check the dates of the B1 exams in 2023 and the courses preparing for this exam. terminy egzaminów na B1 w 2023 roku oraz kursy przygotowujące do tego egzaminu. Check out.
The presentation of Polish films during Film Evenings has become a tradition
Throughout the year, we invited the school to Film Evenings, during which Polish films with English subtitles were presented. It is a great opportunity to learn about the culture and lifestyle of Poles, as well as to understand their mentality.
And as of December, we have the pleasure of inviting everyone to see Polish films at the Wisła Cinema. PFFF: ‘Polish Films For Foreigners’ is a series of Polish films prepared in cooperation with the Wisła Cinema, Polonicum, and the School of Polish Language for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU.
Saying goodbye to summer is never easy, and summer 2021 is already behind us. Luckily, after a one-year break, we managed to organise a summer calendar full of KLUB DIALOGU events. Despite the worldwide pandemic, many difficulties and limitations, we spent this time very intensively and effectively, and the return of our side events sweetened us even more than usual! So what’s so special about this summer?
At the end of June, our intensive Polish language courses began, which are liked and sought after by students who need a faster pace of learning. These courses are very demanding and oblige you to work independently from home, but they give you really great results! However, learning Polish every day does not have to be difficult, boring or tiring! The pleasant summer weather allowed us to go outside the classroom as part of the lesson. We were at the park, at the market, at the cafe, and at Hala Mirowska to buy ingredients for the rest of the lesson where we cooked in Polish! After all, the goal of learning Polish is to use it every day, in various situations, not only with a course book in hand!
During the summer holidays, there were also regular group Polish language courses, as well as individual lessons, the nature and frequency of which depend entirely on the student’s needs.
We love to see our school full of students with happy faces, filled with the desire to learn Polish! We have also become experts in conducting online classes, offering online group Polish language courses and individual online lessons to meet the needs of all our students. We have introduced hybrid courses that allow lessons to continue even when a student was absent due to going on vacation. The beauty of online and hybrid classes is that they can be joined from anywhere!
Traditionally, the Polish Language School for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU invited its students with their family and friends to additional summer events aimed at integrating and sharing everyday life in Poland. The interest in the events exceeded our wildest expectations! As every year, together with students and friends, we celebrated another birthday of KLUB DIALOGU. More than 40 people came to share this special date with us! Thank you very much! The following Saturday, there was a canoeing trip on the Pilica River near Warsaw. Beautiful, sunny weather, playing volleyball on the beach and a barbecue gave everyone a lot of needed energy for the next week. In addition, we visited the Night Market to enjoy street food and card games, had a lovely evening at a Silent Disco, had a great time in an intense phonetics workshop and exercised our bodies in a cheerful atmosphere while playing bowling. What’s more, we hosted our regular meetings: ‘Film Piąteczek’, during which we watch Polish films with English subtitles and discuss Polish culture, tradition and mentality of Poles. We love these events because they give the opportunity not only to show our life, but also learn a lot of interesting things about other cultures, and our students come here from all over the world!
This summer we welcomed many new students who came to us from the USA, Argentina, Israel, Iran, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany and Great Britain! Moreover, we also enjoyed the time we spent on our own vacations. This summer, our employees visited, among others, Italy and Sicily, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Slovenia, and of course they had a great time in Poland and in Warsaw itself.
Summer will be over soon. But life at KLUB DIALOGU school goes on! 🙂 We are fully ready, full of energy and new passion to teach our Polish language!