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St. Andrew's Day

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.