Thursday, March 30, 2017
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Customs and Religion

Christmas Ornaments in Poland: Polish Christmas Tree

How should a Polish Christmas tree look like?

Bombka ChoinkowaWhen I was growing up in Poland in the late 1960 and 1970s quite a number of trees were cut from Polish forests before Christmas season, both, firs and spruces. Firs were the most admired, but too many were cut, so that finally the sale of these trees was banned. Presently, due to environmental concerns and because of improved technology, Polish Christmas trees just like American trees - are usually artificial and can serve for many years and many Christmases. But a real Christmas tree should be tall enough to reach a ceiling after it is put on a stand and topped with a star or a pointed ornament.

When to decorate a Polish Christmas Tree?

Polish Christmas season has a different time period than American Christmas. Although Poles start Christmas shoppings long before Christmas they do not organize Christmas parties and do not decorate Christmas tree because of the Advent season. So Polish Christmas season does not start a month before Xmas like in the USA. Poles decorate the Christmas tree the day, two before Christmas Eve but it lasts longer. Christmas officially terminates on the 2nd of February in Poland. Read more about it in the article entitled: Christmas Time, Advent and ...Temptations.

Read more: Christmas Ornaments in Poland: Polish Christmas Tree


Miners' Day or St. Barbara Day (Barborka) - December 4th

One of the most celebrated days associated with workers group is St. Barbara's Day on December 4th. St. Barbara is a patron of coal miners.

Miners' profession was always considered dangerous but prestigious therefore this day called "Barborka" or Barburka" (there was a long battle between puritans of the Polish language which form is correct) was celebrated for centuries in a spectacular way. The name of the feast originate of course from St. Barbara as a patron.

Read more: Miners' Day or St. Barbara Day (Barborka) - December 4th


How to decorate a Polish Christmas Tree

I've received several posts from readers asking how do we decorate a Christmas tree in Poland. These two articles should answer the question.

What are the most popular Christmas ornaments?

Polish Christmas tree decorations have a long historical tradition. There is even an art school how to make Polish ornaments. On the web you can find several links to Polish companies exporting Christmas ornaments all around the world. This link is in Polish, but almost every company has an English version of their homepage. Use the short Polish-English Dictionary of Christmas terms at the end of this article to better understand the Polish words and find what is of interest to you.

Read more: How to decorate a Polish Christmas Tree


Polish Spring and Easter Rituals

Winters in Poland were long and unforgiving. Therefore people are longing for spring, for possibility to grow plants and other vegetation. One of the ancient and pagan habits that supposedly was helping to get rid of winter was Topienie Marzanny "sinking of Marzanna". This habit is still cultivated among scouts or school kids. Kids made a doll from old grass and tree branches and take it to the river. They burn the doll (called "Marzanna", from the word "marznac" means "freeze") and throw her into the river. The symbolic meaning of this ceremony is to get rid of winter therefore it is performed in early spring.

Read more: Polish Spring and Easter Rituals


Smigus Dyngus and other Polish old Easter Traditions

Smigus Dyngus (shming-oos-ding-oos) is an unusual tradition of Easter Monday. This day (Monday after Easter Sunday) is called also in Polish "Wet Monday", in Polish: "Mokry Poniedzialek" or "Lany Poniedzialek". Easter Monday is also a holiday in Poland. It was traditionally the day when boys tried to drench girls with squirt guns or buckets of water. "Smigus" comes from the word smigac meaning swish with a cane since men tap the ankles and legs of the girls.

Read more: Smigus Dyngus and other Polish old Easter Traditions


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