The flag of Poland consists of two horizontal stripes of equal width, the upper one white and the lower one red. The two colors are defined in the Polish constitution as the national colors. A variant of the flag with the national national symbols in the middle of the white stripe is legally reserved for official use abroad and at sea.
Polish Independence Day, celebrated on November the 11th, marks the restoration of Poland's independence in 1918. After 123 years of partitions Poland reappeared on the map of Europe as a sovereign democratic state.
Easter is the most important annual religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to Christian scripture, Jesus was resurrected after the death on the third day since his crucifixion . Christians celebrate this resurrection on Easter Day or Easter Sunday (also Resurrection Day or Resurrection Sunday ), two days after Good Friday and three days after Maundy Thursday. Easter also refers to the season of the church year called Eastertide or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the forty days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts for the fifty days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. Easter also marks the end of Lent, a season of fasting, prayer, and penance.
The "blessing basket" is one of the unique Easter traditions in Poland. The blessing basket is prepared on Saturday before Easter Sunday. The basket, stashed with colo u red eggs, bread, cake, salt , ham and white colored sausages, is taken to the church to be blessed by the priest .
The family breakfast on Easter Sunday morning is an important part of Polish Easter celebration. People share food from the „blessing basket” but before eating it each of the participants wishes the others of the family good luck and happiness. The table is decorated with green leaves and a sugar lamb may be placed as a centre-piece.
A nother traditional ritual is Dyngus or Smingus Dyngus, celebrated on the first Monday after Easter. On this day boys roam around the neighborhood to sprinkle girls with water. This custom of watering has its roots in pagan traditions since the pouring of water is an ancient spring symbol of cleansing and purification. Easter Monday has also been celebrated as "Switching Day" because on this day boys switch girls with a small willow branch. So, apart from the regular Easter norms, the special rituals of Easter make it unique in Poland.
Christmas also referred to as Christmas Day , is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 that commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth
Modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, Church celebrations, and the display of various decorations—including the Christmas tree, lights, mistletoe, nativity scenes, and holly. Santa Claus is a popular mythological figure often associated with bringing gifts at Christmas for children.
In Poland the traditional Christmas supper is known as Wigilia and being invited to attend this special supper with a family is considered a high honour. Before eating everyone exchanges Christmas greetings with each other by giving a piece of Christmas wafer ( Opłat ek ), usually stamped with a religious image, such as the Nativity scene. There is a tradition of having 12 L enten (meatless) dishes. One has to try every single dish to avoid bad luck next year. Dishes are usually fish based, with carp being very important in Poland. People also eat red borsch or mushroom soup, cabbage with peas, poppy-seed cake and many other dishes. After the dinner children unpack presents from under the Christmas Tree. Later people attend Midnight Mass to solemnly celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
T he celebrations of Polish weddings may last for two or three days. In the past, the engagement ceremony was organized by the future groom as a formal family gathering, during which he asked his chosen lady to marry him. In the recent years this custom has changed and today an engagement is much more personal and intimate. An elegant dinner party afterwards is still a nice way to inform the closest family members about the couples' decision to get married.
Typical Polish wedding is on Saturday and for her it starts much earlier than for him. The gates of her yard are dressed in flowers, ribbons, blotting paper so the fiancé and guests could find where the fiancée lives. There is also tradition, that members of her family build the closure on the road so the fiancé could not easily get to this house. In such cases, he has somehow to pay for unblocking the crossing. Typical „coin” is the bottle of vodka. Parents give their blessing for the young couple and they all go to church. The ceremony takes 0,5-1 hour, than congratulations and guests throw ri c e or coins on bride and bridegroom. Lately pictures of newly-married couple in parks, gardens, forests have bec o me very popular. Now "the fresh husband" (newly married husband) takes his wife on his hands and carry her to the chamber where the party can be started. The party takes usually more less 10 hours and there are around 100 guests. There is a lot of food (warm and cold), cakes, fruits and alcohol on the tables. The chamber is beautifully decorated. And the most important thing is the music. On the typical polish wedding party the group of around 4 people plays and sings many kinds of songs in different languages and tempo, so each guest could find something for himself.
One of the characteristic customs is „oczepiny”. It take s place at midnight. The young couple sits down at the centre of the chamber, and the music group is singing the funny song about losing freedom and virginity, losing the children by the parents, future house works and kids, etc. As they sing that the bridal pair is no longer free the bridesmaid takes off the bride’s veil and the best man takes off the bridegroom’s tie. Then all unmarried girls are gathering around the bride, she closes her eyes and throw s the veil. The girl who catches it, will get married soon. The bridegroom does the same with his tie and the unmarried boys. Th e n the new pair is dressed in the things they caught till the end of the wedding party and has to dance together or do some funny things .
Bigos is a typical polish meal, made of different kinds of meat (po r k, sausage, bacon) . It's very easy to prepare it because you only put all ingredients to one pot and you simmer them for a few hours .
Pierogi are boiled dumplings made of unleavened dough stuffed with various ingredients (for example minced meat, cabbage, mushrooms, cottage cheese or fruit). They are usually semicircular. They are very delicious and a lot of people eat it quite frequently.
Kotlet schabowy is a popular and traditional meat meal in Poland. It is made of pork meat, eggs and crumbs and it is usually fried on oil and served with potatoes and salad. It's very tasty and nutritious.
Polish Noble Prizewinners Maria Skłodowska Curie Wisława Szymborska Czesław Miłosz Henryk Sienkiewicz Lech Wałęsa Władysław Reymont