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Contribution of Poles into Astronomy

Poles and Polish Americans have been pious Christians for centuries, but their fascination with the heavens has also extended beyond the religious sphere. Of course, one of the most outstanding astronomers in history was the Pole Mikołaj Kopernik, commonly known by his Latinized name, Nicholas Copernicus. It was he who in the sixteenth century put forth the idea that the Earth was not the center of the universe but that it and the other planets revolved around the Sun. This was a revolutionary concept at the time which totally changed the study of the heavens.

But even before Copernicus came the astronomer and mathematician Wojciech of Brudzewo (1445-1495). A professor at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, one of his students was Copernicus. Wojciech had doubts about the Earth being the center of the universe and no doubt influenced his famous pupil. He was the first person to state that the Moon always shows the same side to the Earth. There was also Marcin Bylica (1433-1493), a teacher who developed astronomical tables and donated instruments to the university, still on display today, including one of the earliest known celestial globes. And Jan of Głogów (1445-1507), another teacher of Copernicus, was another noted professor of astrology and astronomy in Kraków who wrote extensively on those subjects.

Read more: Contribution of Poles into Astronomy

   

Daily Life in Krutoyarka in Summer 1940

Check earlier articles with the memories from Kazakhstan

Village Krutoyanka (Northern Kazakhstan) is located on two lakes, one with drinkable water and another lake which Is salty. The “good” lake has a good and tasty water. The animals – horses and cattle drink water from this lake. When Spring starts, the sheep is washed in the lake before shearing. In spite of all these different uses we also drunk this water and we never became sick from the millions of bacteria there. The salty lake is overgrown with weeds, its water has brown color with marshy-herb like smell not drinkable.

Read more: Daily Life in Krutoyarka in Summer 1940

   

Poles in the Space

Into The Heavens

HermaszewskiOne Pole and a few Polish Americans have traveled into space. The first and only Polish citizen to go into outer space was General Mirosław Hermaszewski (shown on the left), who participated in the Soviet space program. In 1978 he was launched into space along with a Russian cosmonaut and spent eight days circling the globe in the Soviet space station Salyut. Polish Americans who have traveled into space as part of the U.S. space shuttle program have been first Karol J. Bobko in 1983, followed in subsequent years by Scott E. Parazynski, George D. Zamka and James A. Pawelczyk.

Read more: Poles in the Space

   

Who and When brings Gifts to Polish Children during Christmas Season

Every region has its own tradition. In some regions of Poland the gifts are given to the children only on December 6th - since St. Nicolaus called also Santa Claus is a patron of this day. Read more about St. Nicolaus tradition. But in the majority of houses children (and adults) can expect gifts twice- on December 6th and also on Christmas Eve. As you probably know St. Claus Day originates from orthodox religious tradition but it came to Poland probably from Holland. The atmosphere of this feast is different than the atmosphere of Christmas eve since December 6th is a normal working day. Whereas Christmas is usually celebrated as a family feast, St. Claus Day (December 6th) is rather social - with children and adults participating in Christmas parties at schools and offices.

Read more: Who and When brings Gifts to Polish Children during Christmas Season

   

Christmas in Poland: Christmas Eve (Wigilia)

Everybody, especially kids love White Christmas. Usually their dream comes true. According to the folk tradition - if the Christmas is "black" (without snow) - the Easter will be white. Who wants white Easter instead of White Christmas? Nobody...

Before Christmas Eve farmers bless the fields with a holy water and place crosses made of straw in four corners of their fields. I still remember my grandma doing that. The celebrations of Christmas Eve cannot start before the first evening star (Polish: "gwiazda") appears in the sky. Therefore Christmas is also called "Gwiazdka" (the little star).

Read more: Christmas in Poland: Christmas Eve (Wigilia)

   

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