and it's exciting culture!
- Known as the “Republic” of Poland
- Republic: a "type of government/ state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch"
- Nation is a member of the European Union
- Has an executive, legislative, and a judicial branch
- The executive branch includes a president (chief of state), a prime minister, two deputy prime ministers, and a cabinet or council of ministers
- A president is directly elected by absolute majority popular vote (in 2 rounds if needed) for a 5-year term (and can be eligible for a second term)
- The prime minister and deputy prime ministers are appointed by the president and confirmed by the lower house
Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990
While the Polish economy has performed well over the past five years, growth slowed in 2013 and picked back up in 2014.
Their economy has boomed since the EU accession in 2004, and Poland is one of the region's top-performing countries even with their unemployment remaining high
The use of a Market Economy and finding foreign investment led to their success
- 4.9% of Poland’s GDP is spent on Education (65th in World Scale, just under the US)
- 99.8% of Poland is literate (surveying those of 15 years and older)
- School life expectancy (primary to tertiary) is around 15 -16 years
- Having established the National Education Commission in 1770, Poland has a long tradition of formal schooling
- Occupational success is identified with higher education.
Religions in Poland (as of 2012):
Catholicism ( 87.2%) (includes Roman Catholic 86.9% and Greek Catholic, Armenian Catholic, and Byzantine-Slavic Catholic .3%) with about 75 % attending church services regularly.
Orthodox 1.3% (almost all are Polish Autocephalous Orthodox)
Protestant 0.4% (mainly Augsburg Evangelical and Pentecostal)
Other 0.4% (includes Jehovah's Witness, Buddhist, Hare Krishna, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon),
98.2% of people speak POLISH (the official language of Poland)
1.4% speak Silesian
1.1% speak other languages
1.3% is unspecified
This data represents what is spoken at home
Both men and women expect to marry, have children, and have only one spouse for a lifetime. Marriage has always been viewed as a holy responsibility
commonly believed that the unmarried or the never married cannot be really happy and will have difficulty obtaining salvation.
- Historically, most marriages were arranged to improve family fortunes.
- Ideally, the domestic unit is a three-generation extended family consisting of the married couple, their children and the husband's parents
- Newborns sleep with the mother until they are christened, usually three or four weeks, with six weeks being the usual maximum.
- Boys, in particular, are raised to be brave, independent, self-reliant, and tough. Patriotism is also stressed.
- The father is usually seen as the stern disciplinarian, and authoritarian
- Traditionally, the home has gender-related division of labor in spite of the high rate of women's full-time employment outside the home, including married women with children.
- Throughout history, The Poles have participated in all the great art movements of Western culture.
- Before 1989, art was heavily subsidized by the state, but demands were made on artists to produce propaganda materials.
- Art was subject to political censorship before the fall of socialism
- After the fall of socialism, most state support and censorship has disappeared. Today, Artists are much more free politically
- The first noted painter was the Italian, Bernardo Bellotto, who in the late eighteenth century painted Polish life.
- Painting really developed in the second half of the nineteenth century with Jan Matejko and Henryk Siemiradzki being the best known.
- Attending a performance, whether a play, a movie, a concert or ballet, is an important social activity, and people tend to see it as a serious and edifying experience rather than mere entertainment.
- After World War II, the Communist government attempted to use the theater for propaganda purposes, with indifferent success. There has been a revival since 1989
- Foreign films have a great appeal on society, especially American films.
Some Interesting customs
Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, have a lot of importantce surrounding them compared to other holidays
Typically, Breakfast is eaten around 5-8 am
Between 9-11 in the morning, people may have a second breakfast similar to an American lunch
Dinner is the main meal of the day. Usually taking place between 1-5 pm. It contributes to 40-45% of the daily caloric intake
The last meal, which is much lighter, of the day is typically eaten between 6-8 in the evening
- Unlike other cultures, salads served are eaten alongside the main course, rather than before
- At weddings, the bride and groom are greeted with bread and salt (said to be the essentials of life) upon their return from church.
- During fall harvest festivals, the fruits of the fields are blessed, and cereals and bread made from freshly threshed wheat are eaten as well as placed on graves on All Saint's Day.
- According to Polish tradition, a pregnant woman should not look at the disabled, mice, or fire in order not to damage the infant.
- Traditionally, a house where someone died was considered unclean and was marked with a cloth nailed to the door, black if the deceased was an older married man or woman, green if a young man, and white if a young girl.
- In rural areas, there are religious practices based on the annual cycle of the growing seasons and associated farming practices and to ensure good luck
And now for everyone's favorite topic, FOOD
- The mainstays of a Polish diet consist of meat, bread and potatoes
- For many poles, dinner isn't dinner without meat, mainly Pork
- Bread is treated with reverence. This is mainly because, in the past, if bread was dropped on the floor, it was picked up, kissed, and used to make the sign of the cross.
- Vegetables eaten are usually cool weather crops, ex. beets, carrots, cabbage and legumes (lentils, beans, peas)
- Another important source of nutrition is milk in various forms such as fresh or sour milk, sour cream, buttermilk, whey, cheese, and butter.
- Breakfast usually consists of eggs, meat, cheese, and cold cuts may even be served
- The meal sequence of each day may differ due to the season, and the family
- Tea (commonly made with leaves or berries) is consumed more frequently and coffee is viewed as slightly special.
- Vodka was first distilled in Poland in the sixteenth century and is usually consumed with food, commonly sausage, dill pickles, or herring, as a chaser.
- Among the oldest and most traditional Christmas treats are honey-rye wafers and poppy seed or nut crunch.
My personal favorites:
- Today, all kinds of music are well represented
Music is still thriving in Poland, and composers, both new and old, are very well known
- Traditional music is founded on the rhythms and melodies of folk music adapted for performance in gentry homes and reaches back to the middle ages. It is also influenced by western styles.
After the first world war until the German Invasion of WWII, Polish music prospered, because of the close cultural contacts with other European countries as well as with North America.
And, After World War II, there was a lively revival of music in Poland.
- Famous composer, Frederic Chopin is considered the musical embodiment of Polish culture. He became a national symbol of resistance and a source of cultural identity.
Another famous composer from Polish History: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937), who wanted to create and sustain a distinct national style derived from folk songs.
Polish jazz is known for experimenting
Poland cherishes its musical heritage as it has experienced so many different influences over the past thousand years.
There are many, many festivals, concerts, and competitions that take place all over Poland, year round.