Quirky, weird & delightful
Every country has its own set of unusual traditions and Polish traditions are no different. Some are quirky, some are outright weird, even annoying – but most of them are delightful. Here’s a few that we think you need to know about.
The way Polish people greet each other in elevators ticks the delightful box. Even if they are complete strangers, it is common practice so say dzień dobry (good day) when entering an elevator and do widzenia (good bye) when exiting.
When you are invited to someone’s home, it is usual to bring a gift. Flowers are the easy choice but ensure that you buy an odd number of flowers because an even number is associated with funerals.
Ketchup on pizza!
One of the most annoying traditions for foreigners in Poland is lector (voice dubbing) of films shown on TV. In the majority of cases, an English language film will have a lector who reads the translation over the original voices. The strangest thing about this is that the lector is just one guy who speaks over the voices of men and women in a flat, monotone deep voice.
In Poland, everyone has a name day in addition to a birthday and many people (especially elderly women) prefer to celebrate this above their birthday so that they do not have to mention their age publicly. This tradition has Catholic roots and is linked to the naming of children after saints.
Make sure that you have lots of change on you when you visit the local store because the cashier will ask you to pay some change so that she can give you back a round number and don’t be surprised if you are behind someone at the till who is paying the entire bill in change – coin-by-coin.
Other quirky traditions include: being offered slippers to wear when you enter a Polish household and eating pizza covered in either garlic sauce or ketchup.