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Do Polish People Celebrate Valentines Day?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dearest hearts,

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so I thought it would be interesting for you to know how this day is celebrated here - as an expat living in Poland, a traveller who wishes to visit Poland one day, or just a regular reader of The LadyBug who would like to know more about Poland. As you very well know by now, we - as people, as society - love to "borrow" things from one culture to another.  We do that until the thing that we have "borrowed" gets assimilated and becomes tradition. When you think about Valentine's Day, you mostly think about the USA and the postcards with hearts popping all over... you would not say this is a typical Polish tradition. I am coming from an ex-communist country - just like Poland was - and I know how ones the curtain fell we were dead set upon the task of assimilating as much as we could from America and it's way of life. The young ones welcomed Valentine's Day with arms wide open.
Of course we always had celebrations for Women's Day (on the 8th of March) and in Romania we actually have a traditional celebration for couples, called Dragobete (celebrated, if I remember right, on the 24th of February) but as far as I know and asked Polish people, they did not have a similar tradition. It was, of course, "borrowed". Now, in Poland, Valentine's Day is celebrated on the 14th of February and the day is named "Walentynki" (after the Saint that gave the celebration it's name). Opened on the 30th of September 2010, Kraków prides itself with a Lovers Bridge - Kladka Ojca Bernatka (Father Bernatka's Bridge). The bridge links the Kazimierz and the Podgorze district of Kraków and spans over the Vistula river, providing wonderful views. The bridge is all pedestrian (bikes are allowed) and the couples like to "show the world" their love by putting love locks on it and throwing the key in the river. Some locks are engraved with name and date, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Of course, another "borrowed" tradition ;) 
The Polish lads are one of the most gentleman like lads I have ever encountered, do it is to no surprise that this custom was "borrowed". I do believe though that they don't need a specific day for lovers; it is a custom to see men buying flowers and huge queues appearing around Women's Day. Giving your significant other flowers, almost on a daily basis, is quite frequent in Poland.  Polish lads don't need a day to buy flowers - they love their women and they make then happy everyday; they don't need a reason or a day to buy gifts, they just respect the lasses on their arm. I love the old - type chivalry :) Way to go Poland! Of course for Walentynki it is customary to buy for girls flowers, candies/chocolate, perfume and take them out for lunch/dinner. The ladies, of course, love to make gifts and usually the lads get gadgets/electronics and perfume. Those are the regular ;) but you can always go overboard if you have the time and money for it. How about you? Have you already bought your significant other the Valentine's Day present? Are you ready for this weekend? Any plans? Or are you already in Kraków and you have no clue where to take her out? ;) pop me a line and I can give you some ideas!

Yours truly, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug - have a wonderful Walentynki