Thursday, March 30, 2017
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Customs and Religion

In The Spirit of Christmas

szopkasThe Christmas Spirit has always been strong among the Polish people. Even in the harshest and most dismal of times it has been present in their hearts.

In this 21st century land of plenty, we should remember that in the old days, poverty was more widespread. But even the poorest Polish families, in Poland and the U.S., managed to make the Christmas season a special time. If they could not afford to buy fancy decorations or the materials with which to make them, simple scraps of paper were fashioned into ribbons or ornaments. It may have meant weeks or months of scrimping and saving to afford special treats or gifts for the holiday, but somehow they did it.

Read more: In The Spirit of Christmas


Polish-born pontiff becomes Blessed John Paul II

WARSAW-On Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast day he himself had instituted, the late Pope John Paul II joined the ranks of the blesseds who are one step away from Catholic sainthood.  Millions of Poles watched live broadcasts of the beatification in their homes, and at least 100,000 traveled to Rome for the event. They were among some 1.5 million pilgrims from all over the world who had converged on the Vatican to hear Pope Benedict XVI proclaim in Latin: "Through our Apostolic authority we give our assent for the Venerable Servant of God, John Paul II, Pope, to henceforth be called blessed and for his feast day to be observed on October 22nd of each year." That was the date of his 1978 papal inauguration.

Read more: Polish-born pontiff becomes Blessed John Paul II


Pisanki Display - Polish Heritage Day in Washington DC

The day-long exhibit was exhausting but very rewarding - meeting so many people interested in Polish culture. Our apprentice Alysa and her grandma Martha were there with us the entire time. Alysa brought her eggs and worked on them all afternoon - explaining the skrobanie process to all whowere interested.

We got to meet an older Polish pisanki artist, Anna Schneider, who came from Arlington with her family. She actually brought a small box with 4 beautiful traditional-style eggs she made which were the deep brown onion-skin dye with scratched-out design. I was so pleased and excited that she brought them. For the short time she stayed at the show, I placed her eggs in the showcase with mine. I made a point of telling Alysa - this is the REAL thing! It's the first time I've met someone who did this technique - aside from Mr. Jerzy Lipka who taught me in Poland back in the ‘70s. She had her family take pictures of her and me with our eggs in the case. I gave her a couple pisanki notecards of mine, and she said she was going to use them to write and send the photos to her sisters in Poland. This is what the "Traditions" thing is all about, and I was so happy Alysa played a big part in it. I'd like to schedule a visit to this lady with Alysa, so we could share a pisanki making session.

Read more: Pisanki Display - Polish Heritage Day in Washington DC


First Communion in Poland: Past and Present.

Recently we celebrated my daughter's First Communion in Idaho. It reminded me of my First Communion Celebration in my parish church in Krakow Poland over thirty years ago. Also, I was able to locate some of my mother's family photographs that are over 70 years old.

elzbieta gwiozdzik komunia

First Communion in Polish Family in Silesia - about 1930

Read more: First Communion in Poland: Past and Present.


All Saints' Day Celebration in Poland: Polish Cemeteries

We present here the newest photographs from the celebrations of the All Saint's Day in Poland (November 1st, 2007). All the graves are decorated with flowers, especially fresh autumn flowers - like chrysantemum (read more about Polish Flowers - Funerals, All Saints Day, Christmas and other Occasions - Birthdays, Women Day ).

Cemeteries in Poland are really ... full of life! They are visited by family members of these whose graves are there and by visitors on the daily/weekly basis. But nothing compares to how the cemeteries look on November 1st during the day and by night.

Read more: All Saints' Day Celebration in Poland: Polish Cemeteries


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