What are Poles really like? What do we like about ourselves? Are opinions about Polish people true, or are they just stereotypes? This time we take a look at ourselves (with a wink).
Every nationality is associated with something. Germans are known for their perfect order, Spaniards know how to enjoy life like no one else. The French are masters of style, and the Italians are masters of cooking. And how do we Poles compare to them? What are we like and what do we really do better than others?
1. Hosting guests
Polish hospitality is known worldwide. If you’re just going to visit someone, there’s a high chance you’ll be offered a coffee or tea and a sweet treat. We’re also famous for organizing really big parties with a full buffet even for a simple family gathering. At a birthday party you’ll probably be welcomed with a homemade cake, some cold cuts, some hot dishes, wine, beer, and other cold beverages. And now imagine how Christmas dinner looks like! It’s just crazy.
On the one hand we get a little annoyed when we’re already full and grandma shoves another piece of cheesecake at us. On the other hand when it’s our turn to host, we want to be as hospitable as we can ourselves. One thing you can be sure of: you’ll never leave a Polish party hungry.
2. Organizing wedding receptions
Speaking of parties, let’s discuss the biggest Polish party: a wedding reception. Omg, organizing a wedding reception takes months (if not years!).
And what’s all the fuss about? Well, a traditional wedding, a bit of a thing of the past, is a two-day event to which the whole family is invited (even cousins you haven’t seen since childhood and aunts that no one ever liked too much). Such a reception includes not just one hot meal, but at least two if not three during the night, and you’ll even be offered meat and cheese trays, cakes, and desserts. You’ll be invited to participate in games and of course lots of dancing. And not to be forgotten, vodka.
These days weddings are organized a little differently. They’re usually just a one day event with more wine and less vodka. The dishes on the tables are more sophisticated. Still, despite the more elegant style, weddings are treated as a show and provide maximum entertainment for guests.
What does it exactly mean? That you can expect a cocktail bar, photobooths, a kids entertainer, fireworks, or even a drone videoing the reception.
An invitation to a Polish wedding is like a ticket to a funfair. You know you won’t be able to take part in all the attractions and that you’ll remember it for years to come.
3. Doing barbecue
A Polish barbecue – or grill – is a big deal. We know many of you are already familiar with Polish kiełbasa and are a big fan of it. But a Polish barbecue is much more than just kiełbasa. It’s a true social event.
Grilling in Poland is always associated with carefree moments: nice weather, a weekend or a vacation, and a time spent with friends and family. And it always includes a few must-have components. We told you about them in this post. Check it out to know what we mean.
Yes, we know not only Poles have their barbecue, but when we add Polish hospitality (see point 1.), a barbecue invitation takes on a whole new meaning.
4. Complaining about everything
We don’t know if it’s something to be proud of, but let’s be honest: we complain a lot about everything. Complaining is kind of our small talk, something of a national pastime. After all, nothing brings people together as much as a common misfortune (or at least a reason for complaining about the same thing).
We mainly complain about the weather because it’s the most neutral and appropriate topic even when we don’t know someone very well. And since the weather in Poland shows a full range of possibilities, there’s always something to complain about. One day it’s too hot, another day it’s too cold or it starts to rain suddenly.
We also love to complain about politics, especially when sitting in front of the TV and commenting on the news.
Another topic to complain about is our salary, our manager, and our job in general. In Poland it’s not appropriate to say that one’s happy with one’s job or one’s salary. That would immediately mean that we’re doing well (read: we earn A LOT) and we cease to be credible in complaining about taxes, high prices, or the aforementioned politicians.
It’s also common to complain about being tired and having too many things to do. It’s (almost) like saying that we’re really hard-working and responsible people.
5. Forecasting the weather
We check the weather forecast 3 times a day in 3 different apps, but we still don’t believe any of them and we prefer to forecast ourselves. Of course each of us has our own way to do it.
Someone feels it in their bones because their left knee always hurts because of an upcoming weather change. Someone predicts it by the type of clouds or their speed of movement across the sky, someone else by how flies or other animals behave.
And most importantly: no matter what kind of weather these observations bring, we will still complain about the weather.
6. Restoring and DIY
What does a Pole do on vacation? Renovates the apartment of course. Most often their own, but it can also be mom’s apartment or that of a friend. Just as often, they also help an in-law to do some repairs (it was supposed to be quick, maximum two days, and it’s already taking two weeks).
We Poles are also known for wanting to do everything by ourselves. We build, repair, renovate, and take care of the finishing touches. That’s why Poles are really valued tradesmen in Western countries. Instead of hiring a plumber, electrician, and painter you can simply find a Polish “handyman”.
But it’s no wonder that we’re so talented. After all, a Pole really doesn’t trust the advice of any other skilled worker. And especially such tradesmen whom they found and hired themself. A Pole looks at the worker’s hands and starts to give advice and suggestions. Extreme cases include sitting on a stool, looking at the contractor’s hands and pointing a finger at what they’re doing wrong (that’s no joke, we saw it with our own eyes!). And since you have to stand by this “professional” all the time anyway, it’s better to do it yourself, doesn’t it?
7. Making a diagnosis
We are self-proclaimed politicians, meteorologists, builders, but also doctors of every specialty (most recently virologists). We always know better what’s hurting someone and we have our own remedies and natural ways to deal with diseases of all kinds.
It’s common not to believe a doctor, even though we consult various specialists for a diagnosis we may continue to search for a doctor who tells us what we want to hear. Polish health care has its fair share of this, as the reputation of our public health service is really bad. Anyway, even if by some miracle it were to help us, we still prefer to treat ourselves (and everyone we know also).
8. Being a “good” neighbor
We all know that having good neighbors is priceless. They’ll pick up your delivery and they’ll lend you some sugar (or a lawnmower). If you’re out, they can look after your home and water your plants.
But… There are some neighbors that take their role to heart (too much so). If you have such a “good” neighbor, no news will escape you. Such a “good” neighbor will surely let you know about any new tenant in the building, any important event in your neighborhood, anybody passing by.
A “good” neighbor is way better than the most advanced CCTV camera. It’s a guarantee for your safety and an indispensable source of local gossip. A real gem.
This blog was written in a playful way. We love ourselves for being able to do so many things. Our hospitality, willingness to help, and interest in other people come first in our lives. And, as you know, nothing brings people together like the same problems 🙂