Wianki: Polish Midsummer: Student Observations

Wianki (or, in English, Wreaths) is a Polish holiday event that takes its roots in the pre-Christian tradition of celebrating summer solstice as a day of fire, water, fertility, love and joy. Wianki is celebrated each year in June and is a Midsummer festival marking the summer solstice. While it has analogues throughout Europe, in […]

Holidays in Poland: A Guide

This resource provides a list of those holidays of cultural importance in Poland. Dates, days off, and histories of the holidays are all included. Note that in Poland nearly everything closes for public holidays! Be aware and plan your holiday shopping in advance! Long Weekends and Extra Days Off in 2020 Spring Summer Fall Winter […]

Christmas Mass Celebrations, Poland

The Christmas holiday is the second largest holiday celebrated nationally in Poland, behind Easter. Lights strung up in the Old Town, carols humming in the stores, and Christmas trees dotting the streets: these were the festive sights I experienced throughout Warsaw while on study abroad during Christmas time. Personally, as a Catholic, going to Christmas […]

Borsch: The Slavic Signature Soup

Борщ (borsch) is one of the most popular soups in Central and Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is sweet and sour, healthy and can be eaten at any time of year. It has a complicated and very long history, with the soup changing over time within various geographic regions. Today, the broadly recognized “standard” […]

Polish Independence Day: Student Observations

Independence Day is celebrated in Poland on November 11th. Polish Independence Day commemorates the re-establishment of the state of Poland at the end of World War I in 1918. The holiday was abolished by the communists, but was instituted in 1989, after the fall of communism. Celebrations across the country include firework displays, concerts, and […]

Bird’s Milk Cake: An Airy Russian Cake as Unusual as Its Name

Like the soft, meringue-filled candy on which it was based, торт «Птичье молоко» (Bird’s Milk Cake) consists mostly of filling. Thick but exceptionally airy layers of soufflé are separated by thin, fluffy slabs of cake, and the whole confection is covered in chocolate glaze. The cake’s fantastical name, connoting rare and wonderful luxury, is fitting. […]

Żurek: The Soup that Makes a Man as Strong as a Wall

(The Soup that Makes a Man as Strong as a Wall: from the Old Silesian saying “Ze żuru, chłop jak z muru” (Literally: from żur, a man is like he’s made from wall) Żurek is a sour soup made from fermented rye flour with sausages, potatoes, eggs, and spices. It is popular across Poland in […]

Zupa Ogorkowa: Traditional Polish Pickle Soup

Polish pickle soup is similar to pickle-based soups that can be found across the Slavic world. In Russia, for instance, soups like solyanka and rassolnik are popular. Solyanka, however, prides itself on stuffing as much and as many kinds of meat into the soup as possible. Rassolnik is much more similar to Polish pickle soup […]

Pączki domowe: Polish Fat Thursday Donuts

Pączki domowe (pronounced pOHNch-kee, the singular form being pączek) are pastries similar to donuts. They are considered traditionally Polish, although they are enjoyed across Europe, in many places in North America, and beyond. They are deep-fried and filled with confiture or other sweet and/or creamy fillings, and are usually topped with a sweet icing, glaze, […]

Kluski Śląskie: Bouncy Polish Potato Dumplings

Kluski śląskie (KLOO-skee SHLOWN-skee) are soft, circular-shaped, flattened dumplings made from mashed potatoes and potato flour that typically have an indent in the center. This indent is their distinctive physical characteristic, and acts like a sauce-holder. They are traditionally served with goose, pork roast, gravy, or stew, or with caramelized onions and/or bacon cracklings. They […]

Syrniki: Not Your Average Cheese Cake

Сырники (Syrniki) are cottage cheese griddle cakes, sometimes called “cheese fritters” in English. They are generally fried in vegetable oil to create crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside medallions of warm, creamy goodness. Drizzled with sour cream, condensed milk, and/or jam, and served for breakfast or dessert, сырники are particularly beloved in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania. Сырники […]

Going to Catholic Mass in Warsaw, Poland

Before I ventured over “The Pond” to Europe, I made a promise to my mom that I would go to at least one service in a Catholic Church while I was there. Keeping my promise, I traveled to the Warsaw Old Town where it seemed like my choices of services were plenty on a Sunday […]

Corpus Christi in Poland: Student Observations

Corpus Christi is a Catholic holiday celebrating the Blood and Body of Christ. Since Poland is majority Catholic, most stores and eateries in the country are closed for this very popular day. As a participant in SRAS’ study abroad programs in Warsaw, I was given the opportunity to spend the day with my peers to […]

In Memory of the Warsaw Uprising

Walking around Warsaw on a daily basis, I have not become a stranger to witnessing memorials or places where something important in history has occurred. Everywhere in Warsaw it seems to be a reminder of the dark past. The oppression started on September 1st, 1939 when the German Nazis invaded Poland. The population was separated […]

Poles on Poland

While on SRAS’ Security and Society study abroad program in Warsaw, Rebekah Switala, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, stayed very active. Here, she sat down with two Polish friends to discuss what it was like to grow up in Poland, their thoughts on Polish culture, and what advice they may […]

Milk Bars: Warsaw’s Proletarian Food Culture

This is a quick introduction to both Warsaw’s milk bars, which are important cultural institutions as well as great places to eat, and to the Polish language needed to order in them. While English-speaking eating establishments can be found, they will typically be more expensive and less of an important local experience than a Milk […]

Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw

There are actually a number of Jewish cemeteries in Warsaw, but the one at Okopowa street is by far the largest. At 83 acres or the size of about 63 football fields, it is also one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe and one of the few remaining Jewish cemeteries in Poland still in […]

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