Explore, cultivate and share our Polish heritage!
JOIN A FRATERNAL: Pol-Am insurance fraternals such as the Polish National Alliance, Polish Roman Catholic Union or Polish Falcons not only provide competitive insurance and investment opportunities. But they also but also help uphold our Polish heritage and defend Polonia’s good name. They are therefore worth supporting, so consider joining if you are still not a member or signing up youngster.
POL-AM WRITERS: Many Polonians are unaware of the novels, short stories and other books written by or about Polish Americans. If you are among them check out: http://writingpolishdiaspora.blogspot.com/2009/03/polish-american-writers-reading-at.html
MARK ASH WEDNESDAY: Attend evening mass on Ash Wednesday (Popielec - Feb. 22 this year), when heads are sprinkled with ashes to usher in the seven-weeks penitential period of Wielki Post (Lent). Consider holding a herring and boiled potato supper afterwards at the parish hall.
VIEW POLISH MOVIES: Watch Polish movies of every type - comedy, action,. historical, children’s, even pre-1939 productions - online in your own home from the major distributor of Polish films in America. Most of the movies have English subtitled. Learn what’s available at: http://www.polishmoviesonline.com/
FIRST BIRTHDAY CUSTOM: When a child turns one, it is customary to set the youngster down on the carpet and surround him with: a book, dollar bill, rosary, hammer and shot glass. The first thing he or she reaches for is said to predict what lies ahead.
TELL POLISH BEDTIMES STORIES: Your youngster will look forward to bedtime if you get into the habit of telling or reading him or her a Polish fairy tale or legend. Read up on them at: http://info-poland.buffalo.edu/web/arts_culture/literature/tales/index.shtml.
LEARN A POLISH WORD A DAY: An easy way to build your Polish word power is to learn a Polish word (or more if you feel up to it) each day. Divide a hard-copy or online notebook up into categories: colors, days of the week, family members, foods, pets, clothing, buildings, sports, vegetables, seasons, etc. and add to the word lists as you go along.
POLISH POTLUCK: For a change of pace suggest a Polish potluck dinner to your relatives, friends or fellow-club members in which each participant prepares and brings a typically Polish dish to the party. A variation is the Polish progressive dinner. Guests go to the first home for hors d’oeuvres and drinks, enjoy a starter course at the next stop and so on for the soup, main course and finally dessert and coffee.
PLAN A TRIP TO POLAND: That first visit to Poland is usually unforgettable, eye-opening experience. Most PolAms return home more aware of and interested in their ancestral heritage than ever before. Check around for tours being planned by Pol-Am organizations, parishes or travel bureaus or contact: contact: Polish-American Tours at: 1-800-388-0988 or e-mail: www.pattours.com.
CHOOSE A POLISH SUBJECT: Suggest a police topic when your youngster has to prepare an essay, composition, presentation or other project for school. Many interesting suggestions worth researching and writing about may be found at the following website:
GIVE KITTY A POLISH NAME: Got a new kitten as a pet? Consider a Polish-style name for it such as: Łatek, Kicia, Kotek, Kotka, Kulka, Miluś, Mruczek, Pimpuś, Pusio or Śnieżka.
WEDDING IN THE FAMILY?: The bride and groom to be meet at the home of the girl’s parents before the wedding to receive the parental blessing. After the nuptial, they are greeted at the reception by the parents with bread and salt. During the meal guests chant “gorzko, gorzko” (bitter, bitter) for the newlyweds to kiss, a money dance is later held and finally the unveiling/becapping ceremony. Next day, it’s poprawiny (a follow-up celebration).
HONOR SAINT CASIMIR: Not only parishes named after Święty Kazimierz but also Pol-Ams with Wilno region roots might consider marking Kaziuk on or around his feastday (March 4th). This traditional St. Casimir’s Day indulgence-fair combines religious devotions in church with a fair selling a variety of folkcrafts, many Easter-related like butter-lamb molds and Polish “palms”. Gingerbread hearts with such inscriptions as “Tylko Ciebie kocham” (“I love only you”) and “Daję Ci swoje serve” (“I give you may heart”) are always popular.
POLISH NAMING: Suggest giving a Polish-flavored name to a school, library, new street, subdivision, business or institution. Suggestions include: Chopin, Copernicus, John Paul II, Kościuszko, Mickiewicz, Piłsudski, Pułaski, Sienkiewicz, Skłodowska-Curie, Sobieski and Wałęsa. Other possibilities: Cracovia, (Kraków), Lublin, Mazovia, Poland, Pomerania, Resovia (Rzeszów), Silesia, Tarnovia (Tarnów), Tatra, Varsovia, Vistula, Warsaw, plus Mazurka, Polish, Polonaise, Polonia, Sarmatia and White Eagle.
ST. JOSEPH’S DAY: Back when Józef, Józefa and Józefina were popular names, this feastday (March 19th) was viewed as Polonia’s answer to the Irish St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated two days earlier. Across Polonia dinner-dances and parties known as Józefinki were held i Polish parish and fraternal halls. It might be a good idea to revive this custom and possible provide special prizes for all the Josephs and Josephines present. To this day, Chicagoland Polonia joins the Italo-American community in joint celebration of this occasion.
POLISH EASTER “PALMS”: The Polish palm-making tradition (not to be confused with palm-weaving) creates beautiful rod-type bouquets blessed in Poland’s churches on Palm Sunday. They are fashioned from dried herbs, wildflowers and greenery wrapped around a stick. Why not start a craft project and sell these palms at Easter bazaars, crafts fairs and (with the pastor’s permission!) in front of the church on Palm Sunday with proceeds going to a worthwhile charitable or cultural cause. If unfamiliar with these, visit this website: http://www.1000rad.pl/palmy-wielkanocne-tradycja.
A POLISH SISTER-CITY?: People-to-people contacts including commercial ties and youth exchange visits with Polish people are possible if your city has a sister-cities arrangement with Poland. If your city already has such ties with a locality in Poland, check out how you or your group can participate. If not, why not propose entering into such an arrangement. For information please visit: http://www.sister-cities.org.
SUBSCRIBE TO A POL-AM PAPER: These include: