Mar 21, 2008

Polish Wedding Traditions

Parts of the Polish Wedding

Engagement period- Oswiadczyny, Zareczyny or Zrekowiny.

Invitation time- Zaprosiny or Oprosiny.

Wedding Day- Church and reception

Next Day party- In Poland sometimes 3 days party.

The engagement ceremony comes before the wedding. The engagement is usually a small ceremony that takes place in the house of the parents or parents in law (either the bride or the groom). Many times this is a time when in-laws meet each other the first time.

Wedding traditions demanded that guests be invited in a certain obligatory manner. First, invitations were issued to relatives or friends to act as groomsmen or bridesmaids. The bride and groom then went to invite their godparents. In some sections of Poland old custom forbade the exclusion of anyone in the village from being invited to the wedding.

Some Polish brides and grooms like to celebrate the big change in their lives - the wedding - with a bachelor and bachelorette party. The bachelor and bachelorette party sometimes takes place a night before the wedding but more often - on a Saturday or Friday - a week or two before the wedding ceremony. During the bachelor party, the groom gets to go out and socialize with his guy friends. They usually visit a couple of bars where they have drinks, play pool or throw darts. During the bachelorette party, the bride either goes out with her girl friends or invites the girl friends to her house for a light meal and drinks. During the party, the girls talk, gossip, play games, and listen to music.

A wedding ceremony is usually both religious and civil and takes place first a magistrate and then in a church.

The most typical wish to the newlywed:
"Zycze Wam wszystkiego najlepszego na nowej drodze zycia."
I wish you all of the best on your new road through life.

There are several ways to express Polish traditions on the wedding day:


Before the church ceremony everyone would gather at the home of the bride to accompany the bridal couple to the church, but also to witness the blessing and symbolic farewells of the bride with her parents, relatives, and friends. The blessing by the parents before church were seen as more important than the church ceremony itself. A crucifix, a lighted candle, a bowl of holy water and a sprinkler (if the regular Polish brush-type sprinkler is not available, this can be a leafy tree branch) should be prepared. Traditionally the mother of the bride gives the blessing. Either kneelers or some cushions are provided for the bride and groom to kneel on. They hold hands as they kneel in front of their parents. The mother then sprinkles the bride and groom-to-be with Holy Water, whereupon they make the Sign of the Cross. She then gives them the crucifix to kiss. The father of the bride may utter a blessing of his own or simply sprinkle the couple with Holy Water. The bridegroom's parents may also impart their blessing. Others, for instance grandparents, or godparents may also bless the couple.

After the blessing, the bride and groom thank, hug and kiss their parents and the wedding party prepares to leave for church. Years ago, the blessings were so important that, if a mother or father had died, the wedding party would stop at the cemetery where the groom or bride asked for a blessing from the deceased parent.

The Bread and Salt Blessing is an old and most popular Polish tradition. At the wedding reception, the parents of the bride and groom greet the newly married couple with bread, which is lightly sprinkled with salt and a goblet of wine.

Parents usually say:
"Staropolskim zwyczajem witamy Was chlebem i sola, aby w Waszym domu zawsze goscil dostatek."
"According to our Old Polish tradition, we greet you with bread and salt, so that your home might always enjoy abundance."

With the bread, the parents are hoping that their children will never hunger of be in need. With the salt, they are reminding the couple that their life may be difficult at times, and they must learn to cope with life's struggles. Also It was believed that salt had the power to heal and cleanse, uncover thieves, protect houses against fire, dispel storms and hail, and drive away evil spirits. The wine symbolizes the desire that the couple will never go thirsty, and that their lives will be filled with health and happiness. After the bride and groom each taste a piece of bread they break the plate and glass for good luck. The parents then kiss them as a sign of welcome, unity, and love.

More Wedding Traditions

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