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What the Polish Culture has Taught me

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

I was born in Poland. Both my parents are Polish. All my relatives are Polish.

Yet still, sometimes I forget that I am Polish.

The Polish culture is like no other. It's kind, family orientated and based in tradition.

There are many amazing aspects to this culture, but I'm definitely not someone who conforms to traditions.

It's hard to make assumptions about a whole nation, and I am sure not everyone fits in with these - not least myself. So please take these with a grain of salt.

Here is a list of what I love and hate about the Polish culture:

Family comes first

The family is extremely important to Polish people. We care extensively about members of our household, and we want each and every one to do well. When Polish people do something, they have their family at the forefront of their decision making.

We love children. Children are such a blessing in the Polish household, and the whole family is involved in raising a child.

LGBT who?

Unfortunately, Poland is not a very accepting culture for our LGBT sisters and brothers. Polish people are very religious, and they don't believe in same-sex marriage. In fact, one third of Poland is declared as an "LGBT Free Zone" where LGBT people are not welcome.

I mean, this is just heartbreaking. Poland definitely has a long way to go in terms of being an accepting country - I'm ashamed.

Polish people are extremely reliable

Poles are known for their reliable and hard working nature. They are extremely good friends, as you can rely on them during difficult times.

As you can probably imagine, Polish people make for great employers - as it's rare to hear them skiving from work or not pulling their weight.

You need to be the perfect child

Polish parents are known for setting unrelaists expectations on their children. Not once have I heard "why are you doing this to us". Polish children are expected to perform well in academia, sports and to help around the house. You might think that this is normal, yet Poles push the boundaries in terms of setting expectations for their children.

We're used to the word 'sacrifice'

I view the Polish nation as a group of survivors. It was inevitable that I would mention the second world war - so here we go: The Polish folk you see today have ancestors who have fought through oppression from multiple nations, yet they are still here.

I am unsure how many nations would be able to make as many sacrifices as Polish people had to make during the times of oppression. And this has carried through to today.

We are a resilient group of individuals who know what it is to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

So many parents work extremely hard to give their children the highest quality of life, so that the next generation of Poles could build a better future.

Traditionalists to the core

Poles love their traditions. It's actually the only European country to be actively building new churches, whilst other European countries are having to shut them down. In a way, its precious to have traditions - but on the other hand, Polish people can be very set in their ways.

Not many Polish people like change. Especially when it comes to family life. Stability is very important to them, so when they see drastic changes being made - they aren't likely to be extremely accepting of it. Racism and inequality are still huge issues in Poland, partially because of the Polish 'stuck-in-their-ways' character.

One aspect of the Polish tradition I hate, and is still very predominant today - is the ideology that men go to work, and women take care of the house. Personally I feel like this is a very old-fashioned way of thinking, and women should be able to pursue a career no less than a man can. It would be unfair of me not to mention that change is occurring, but very very slowly.

Am I proud to be Polish?

Let me tell you one thing - I am so grateful that my parents moved to England. I cannot imagine having to go through everything back in Poland.

I feel like Polish people are so closed minded.

I am someone who loves change, someone who often likes to see things from a different perspective and accept people for who they are.

Who are you to think a certain way based in what your culture has taught you?

We are all individuals who go through life with different realities. I cannot imagine the volume of young LGBT children sat in their homes wanting to be themselves, but they can't.

We are extremely privileged to be living in England, even with everything going on at the moment.

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1 Comment

Andrew Shell
Andrew Shell
Jun 22, 2020

I’m American, but all my grandparents or great grandparents migrated from Poland. I see so much of my family in what you’ve described, although I never attributed these qualities to my Polish ancestry. Thank you for sharing.

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