Exploring Polish Culture

Poland is a country with a thousand-year history and rich traditions. Despite being at the heart of much destruction during World War II, it has kept much of its cultural heritage remarkably intact. Home to wonderful, captivating landscapes, like the Carpathian Mountains, the coastline of the Baltic Sea, or the winding river Vistula, Poland offers many natural wonders. In fact, Poland is home to 14 United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites!

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Polish People and Community

Teenagers in Poland

Poles are generally friendly and active people, who like to keep themselves busy with extracurricular activities, trips, and family get-togethers. You’re likely to find a close-knit family with grandparents often living in the home. In Polish culture, parents usually give their children quite a bit of independence and responsibility. Polish families come in all shapes and sizes, some lead very quiet lives, others are quite busy and their household is noisy. Some take frequent trips or outings, while others spend most of their time at home. Both parents may work outside the home or only one. Families also come from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Families will usually gather on Sundays to have lunch with immediate and extended family members. Polish society is young and well-educated, with a strong sense of initiative and creativity.

Language and Communication Styles

People walking on city street in Poland

Poland’s official language, Polish, belongs to the West Slavic branch of Slavic languages. It has several dialects that correspond to the old tribal divisions and it has also been influenced by contact with foreign tongues.

Food in Poland

Pierogies being prepared

Food in Poland is hearty, and highlights include pierogi, a kind of stuffed dumpling, stew with mushrooms and sausage, meat, cabbage, and potatoes. Bread is served with just about every meal, and people often buy fresh bread daily from local bakeries. People in rural areas tend to grow their own fresh vegetables. Polish cuisine is also known for its delicious cakes. Toruń, for example, is the home of gingerbread and Warsaw is famous for its rosehip jam-filled doughnuts.

Other popular Polish dishes include Rosół, which is chicken soup with noodles, usually eaten on Sundays,  Barszcz, a clear beetroot soup whose ingredients are garlic, onions, carrots, and celery,  and Bigos, cabbage stew with meat and sausage. In Poland, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are the main meals and families usually try to eat these together, depending on their schedule.  An additional meal that Polish people enjoy having is called ‘drugie śniadanie’ (second breakfast). Family and food are important in Polish culture, which is the reason why having lunch on Sundays together is still an existing tradition.

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