Wedding Traditions Of A Polish Wedding

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Wedding Traditions Of A Polish Wedding

The wedding traditions in Poland are much steeped in history. The engagement in Poland was known as the Zareczny, which is similar to getting married. In Poland, once you got engaged, you were getting married and ending an engagement was nearly unheard of. The ceremony for the engagement was to invite their friends and family over and tie their hands together with a whiten-scarf over a loaf of bread. In doing this the couple was showing how they got food together in the hopes that they would never go hungry.

The tradition of Polish weddings would usually last three or more days and on the wedding day itself musicians would come and play at the bride’s home. Everyone would gather at the bride’s home where the parents would give a blessing to the couple before they went to the church. If a parent had passed away beforehand, they would stop by the grave site to get a blessing from the deceased parent. The whole wedding party would go to the church in style with decorated wagons, while the band played music all the way to the church.

The Wedding and Reception

The couple would have their wedding, usually a Catholic ceremony, early in the morning. After the wedding at the church, they would head to the reception hall to partake in a breakfast of sausage, roast chicken and some desert, like Kolaczki. Kolaczki is a pastry that is filled with fruit jam and cream cheese. During breakfast an accordion band will usually perform. It was considered that if the bride did not cry at the wedding itself, it was said that she would cry the rest of her married life.

At about two in the afternoon, the band and all the people would leave to take a nap so that they would be refreshed and ready to party at the Bacchanalia that night. At about 5 o’clock in the evening is when everyone would return to the reception hall, where the bride and groom would be greeting them at the door. Afterwards, they would do a Zapicie, which means to “wash it down,” in other words, they would pass around a beer or some vodka and everyone would take a drink.

After awhile of dancing, talking and drinking, the dinner would be served. Then the band would play while the couple entered the dining hall, where they would invite the guests to get in line behind them to eat. Usually at polish weddings there are so many people that the guests would have to be fed in batches.

The Oczepiny

The wedding cake at polish weddings is never served after the dinner, but rather is wrapped up for the guests to take home. After the dinner a lot more dancing takes place, then half way through the reception, the mother of the bride would remove the bride’s wedding veil and put on a pretty cap called a Chusta. The ceremony was known as the Oczepiny and it was to let everyone know that she was now a married women. Instead of having the usual wedding dance that we think of today, they would tie an apron on to the bride, which was decorated with babies. An elder man would hold a baby doll and ask for people to give it money for its cradle.

To get more money for the couple, the men would have to pay to dance with the bride, similar to what we know as the Money Dance. The party would continue until the owner of the hall turned off the lights. Then they would all go the bride’s parents home for an all night eating and dancing party called the Poprawiny. The Poprawiny started back in the old days when the bride’s parents bought the food from the caterer, so in essence, they owned it. Not wanting any of it to go to waste, they would keep having parties until all the food was gone.

The Gifts

After the reception the bride and groom would go to their new home, where they would meet their parents and while there they would give them wine, bread and salt. The salt would be a reminder that, though they will have tough times together as a couple, they must learn to cope with the issues together. The bread represents the parent’s great hope that their children would never know the pains of hunger, while the wine represented the parent’s hope that they would always have good health, be happy and have many friends to which to share it with.