While being home last time, I was honored to participate in a celebration of traditional Polish wedding. I was absolutely blown away and nervous at the same time, when one of my high school friends asked me to go with him. Why? Firstly, I did not know neither a bride nor a groom. Secondly, I had no clothes (apart from my snickers, jeans and fancy Thai hat). However, my sister was organised enough to get me motivated and ready for the party!
What are the Polish weddings like? How to behave? What food can you expect? Now is the time to answer these questions. After hours of eating food and dancing on the floor followed by a long mass in the church, I feel like a professional wedding advisor :):):).
Things to know
All you need to know before you crash a Polish wedding is that Polish people are very hospitable, friendly and they like drinking a lot of vodka. Each holiday or celebration is an excellent opportunity for us to overeat and overdrink :).
Polish wedding are, without a doubt, one of the funniest in Europe and the wedding party can last even a few days. Traditional Polish weddings often pull family together to celebrate such an important moment in the life of their relatives. There is no way you will get bored or go home before 5 am!
Traditions, customs and superstitions
Marriage and weddings are often subjects to a number of traditions, customs and superstitions in Poland.
To start with, according to the tradition, an engagement lasts up to one year. Therefore, the wedding must take place within 365 days from the date of engagement. In Poland, there is a superstition that the wedding should take place in a month, which contains letter “r”. Planning the wedding ceremony on the 1st April is not recommended for obvious reasons – April Fool likes to make mischief, not only in terms of weather (April in Polish is “kwiecień” and thus does not contain letter “r”).
Selecting a wedding dress is also shrouded in tradition. The groom should not see the bride in her wedding dress until the wedding ceremony. Moreover, A woman must bear in mind that the wedding dress should be wore only once when trying it on. Unnecessary parades in the dress carry a bad omen.
Wedding dress should contain at least one white element that is a symbol of purity and blue component, which bodes marital fidelity. In addition, the bride should also have something borrowed (and the favor of her husband’s family), something old (if necessary guarantees help from relatives) and something new (a symbol of abundance).
On the way to the church or registry office just wed should look out for the pigeons that bring happiness in contrast to the crows, ravens and that can be a bad symbol. Also, the weather on their wedding day has some symbolic meaning – it is probably obvious that beautiful sunny skies heralds happiness, and thunder and rain augur bad luck. It is interesting that a light rain is considered a blessing of God.
Journey to the church should go without turning, even if we forgot something and the bride’s father should accompany her till the end. The first moments of marriage require a thread of tradition. Young couple is showered by guests with rice or barley grain to provide them in this way fertility and abundance. The first joint toast should end up throwing glasses so that they break.
Wedding party is something everyone looks forward to. All guests are dancing like crazy to the music played by a band. There is no way you can stop dancing (maybe if you want to have another vodka shot). The whole place is decorated by fancy balloons and colourful ribbons.
At midnight, there is time for “Oczepiny”, a wedding ceremony during which the bride symbolically passed from maiden to married status, for example the groom needs to find out which legs (there are 10 women sitting on the chair with their skirts and dresses rolled up) belong to his wife, without looking.
Wedding food and drinks
Weddings are one of Polish traditions (after Christmas) when you will never feel hungry or thirsty. You will be stuffed with enormous amount of Polish food and drinks. Overeating and hangover are guaranteed. There are many traditional Polish dishes served, such as Polish dumplings, herring in oil or vegetable salad with mayonnaise so everyone can find something for themselves.
The food is being served by waitresses every few minutes so you can taste them all and pick up your favourite.
The whole party is over when everyone is drunk or falls asleep on the floor. The next day all guests gather together again to have a dinner. Although I am not a big fan of parties and drinking too much, I had a lot of fun and met great people.
I wish the bridge and the groom all the best and hope their dreams will come true.