Polish Language Blog

Happy Father’s Day Posted by on Jun 23, 2010 in Vocabulary

Happy Father’s Day to all our Polish readers out there that are fathers or father figures. Now, some of our American readers might be saying, Hey Katarzyna, you missed this by about three days, as Father’s Day in the US was celebrated this past Sunday. But this is not a miss. June 23 is Dzień Ojca (Father’s Day) in Poland. Poland is a country that celebrates holidays such as these on the same day every year, regardless of the day falling on a weekend.

So I thought I would take this opportunity to put in another primer on ludzie (people), pokrewieństwo (kinship) and the rodzina (family). Taking it down to the basics we have:

man ~ mężczyzna plural,  mężczyzni
woman ~ kobieta plural, kobiety

As the old story goes, a kobieta wychodzi za mąż (a woman gets married; literally, a woman goes for a husband), and then she becomes a żona (wife). Żona and mąż are the typical words for wife and husband, however, you may also hear them referred to as małżonka and małżonek, respectively. These are derivatives of the word małżeństwo (marriage). As the years go by, the kobieta and mężczyzna are blessed with a dziecko (baby), also known more endearingly as a dzidziuś. Before the baby is born, more and more rodzice (parents) are opting to find out if their dzidziuś will be a chłopiec czy dziewczynka (boy or girl). This may be out of their own curiosity or it may be pressure from the dziadkowie (grandparents) who want to get a jump start on spoiling their little wnuczek (grandson) or wnuczka (granddaughter). Without a doubt though, as most Polish people will tell you, it doesn’t matter if you have a syn (son) or córka (daughter),  aby dziecko było zdrowe (as long as the baby is healthy).

The term for a man who has become a father is ojciec, and a woman who has become a mother is a matka. When a mother is being referred to, she is called Mama or Mamusia. When addressing a father, a child will use Tata or Tatuś. When the father sees his own kids father or mother a child, he then becomes a dziadek (grandfather). Similarly, a woman becomes a babcia (grandmother). There are several terms of endearment for grandparents; my sons referred to my Father as Dziadzia and Dziadziu, and I remember calling my maternal grandmother Babciu on several occasions. Grandmothers may also be referred to as Babunia. Perhaps our readers have used other words in reference to parents and grandparents? If so, please share your terms of endearment with us all in our comments below!

To close out this Father’s Day post, I found a song in honor of our fathers. You can click on play below to hear it.

And one more song. This song I was fortunate enough to dance to with my own Father when I was married. It was a moment of my life that was over so fast, yet stays with me to this day as one of the fondest memories I have of him. And perhaps there are some brides to be out there, looking for a song to dance to with their own Father. May I suggest this one, Tatusiu Waltz. I would also suggest having boxes of Kleenex near the dance floor and in the crowd; it is a tear jerker 😉

That’s all I have for this one. Hope you enjoyed the terms and the tunes. Again, a happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there ~

Drodzy tatusiowie zróbcie ważne miny, (literally, Dear fathers make important faces)
bo to piękna rola być głową rodziny.
(because it is a beautiful role to be the head of the family.)

Do następnego czytania…

Dzień Ojca

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  1. Basia:

    I like the custom in the US better where Father’s Day always falls on a Sunday. That way, you can spend the day with family and not have to go to work. It makes more sense.

  2. Alfonso Czaplinski:

    Catarzyna Hi!
    I really enjoyed seeing the memory of the old father figure that still preserves the culture polad. I beleave that this is the great sins of our society and especially our youth today. Do not want to obey and respect their parents (Father and Mother) (Ocz and Mama). That is an eternal law given by God in the holy gospels, so that the Holy Bible tells us and teaches us the fourth commandment of God’s law saying “Honor thy Mother and thy go well for you, and be long-lived …”. Once this day, Dzien Ocze, honor our parents land.E God is our great heavenly Father is eternally praised on earth as in heaven.
    Alfonso Czaplinski from Brazil

  3. Mary Zurawski:

    The Polish people from this region in Wisconsin are of Kasiubian background and call grandmother Busia.

  4. MiMaS:


    Small correction:

    man ~ mężczyzna plural, mężczyzni
    You dropped the “i”.

  5. Katarzyna:

    MiMaS, thanks for the catch. I proofread through my writing before I publish, but sometimes you’re too close to the work to grab the errors. I avoid spell checkers because I find these often will make more mistakes than help, especially when writing in two languages. When I type, I make similar errors in English, unfortunately, so I wish I could call this language specific. I’ll try to slow down and minimize my typos 🙂

    Thank you ALL for sharing your stories and feedback! Keep them coming!

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