Polish Traditions

At Serendipity Photography we feel honoured to have captured many weddings in the Polish tradition. The beautiful bride Kasia and her husband Adam shared with us some of the unique customs were a part of their wedding day.

It is traditional in Polish culture for the families of the bride and groom to gather together at the bride or grooms house before the wedding ceremony. The couple kneel before their parents and godparents and receive a blessing, This blessing is a sincere wish for the couple to enter the new chapter in their lives with happiness and good fortune. This blessing is called Blogoslawienstwo. Whilst many Polish ceremonies are held in Catholic churches, as this is the overarching faith amongst the Polish culture, Blogoslawienstwo represents a major difference between the Polish and western traditions, in the former it is custom for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony.

 

As the newly wed bride and groom leave the church, rather than the common confetti or rice, the friends and family of the couple gently throw coins. Known as the coin toss, this practice ensures the prosperity of the new marriage. Once upon a time the couple would have picked up all the coins by themselves — their first task together as husband and wife — and a test of the strength of their bond. Today it is very acceptable for the bridal party to help the pair in this feat!

After the ceremony, the wedding reception is an important part of the wedding day, and the site for many unique customs. As the bride and groom first enter the reception venue they are met by their parents and presented with rye bread, salt and a glass of wine. The sharing of bread, salt and wine is an important feature of weddings in Poland. The bread represents the hope that the bride and groom will never go hungry,  the sprinkling of salt is a reminder that life may be difficult at times (sprinkled with hardship) but that they will learn to cope, finally the wine fulfills the desire that the couple will never go thirsty, and that their lives will be filled with health and happiness. After this blessing the parents kiss the newly married couple as a sign of welcome, unity and love.

At a Polish wedding reception, there is never a shortage of vodka. This is important as throughout the night, guests may raise a shot of vodka into the air and cry “Sto Lat!” literally meaning “100 years” for the bride and groom. This is often repeated with festive and sincere spirit throughout the duration of the reception, to wish the bride and groom 100 years of happiness and love in their life as a married couple.

The “money dance” is always popular at a traditional reception in Poland. Guests pin money to the bride’s wedding dress to buy a dance from her. The newlyweds might put these gifts of cash towards their honeymoon expenses. More traditionally, the maid of honor wears an apron and collects the money given by the guest to dance with the bride. After all the guests have danced with the bride, they form a tight circle around her, and the groom tries to break through the circle while the guests try hard to keep him out. Once he breaks through, he picks up his bride and carries her away from the wedding reception. The money collected during the dance is sent with them to spend on their honeymoon.

Celebrations continue the day after the wedding, albeit more casually, with a daytime event called: Poprawiny. This gathering is usually held at the home of the bride or groom, with much food, laughter and celebration, and is an opportunity for guests to wish the couple luck in their new future together.

 

 

One Response to “Polish Traditions”
  1. Kasia 5 March 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    It was so important for me to have Polish traditions at my wedding. Being brought up in a Polish family, I knew that once my wedding day came, I would have to include customs and traditions that were so typically “Polish”.

    I was so happy with how everything turned out. My family were happy that our culture was being shared with my husband’s family– it most definitely blended our two families and made them one cohesive unit.

    The majority of my family, who still live in Poland, could not make it to the wedding. When I told them about the traditional customs and rituals that I was going to be having at my wedding, they were thrilled that our Australian friends will be able to witness our culture.

    Most importantly, these precious moments were captured by our wonderful photographer. I was overjoyed by how my culture was portrayed and respected.

    Thank you!

Leave a Reply