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Turkey Day in Poland??? Posted by on Nov 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday in Poland and is not really celebrated,  but many of the same foods typically associated with this holiday are enjoyed year-round. Even though the Poles do not celebrate Thanksgiving in Poland, there are many Polonians who have immigrated from Poland to the United States and continue to celebrate this incredible holiday with all the trimmings. In fact, the Poles have lived in the United States for over 400 years, since 1608, as early as the Vikings, and they celebrated Thanksgiving Day with the rest of our American settlers from the beginning.

Besides, the one thing the Poles are very good at is putting off a good fest with the best food, so celebrating a warm Thanksgiving meal with friends and family is very Polish. You can never have enough food! Called Święto Dziękczynienia in Polish, Thanksgiving Day is similar to the spirit of the Wiglia feast, more so than any other American holiday.

However, they do have a festival that is not so far off in spirit of Thanksgiving, a day of giving thanks for the harvest of the preceding year. Called Dożynki, Poles celebrate the year’s harvest with plenty of good food, drink, music, and dancing.  However, unlike Thanksgiving where Americans celebrate in their homes while watching the parade on the TV, the Polish Harvest festival is celebrated in small communities and churches after the last wheat is taken from the fields (Dożynki).

Although some will say the two are not related at all, we can say one thing, we are all giving thanks to the bounty of the land and the food on our tables. Something we tend to easily take for granted (za rzecz oczywistą) on a day to day basis, especially now that so many people are less connected to the work required on fields to produce the food we eat daily.

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Image found on http://www.reservebranson.com

Since we are all giving thanks to the year’s harvest, it seems reasonable that we can put what ever we want on the table, whether you are Polish or not. Speaking of appropriate Thanksgiving recipes, the earlier settlers in America actually had an extremely varied Thanksgiving menu compared to what we serve today, which is just primarily turkey (indyk), mashed potatoes (purée ziemniaczane), gravy (sos), stuffing (nadzienie/farsz), and some vegetables (warzywa). The 1621 Plymouth celebration (the first Thanksgiving Day in America) was supplemented with dishes obtained largely by hunting, fishing, and gathering: venison (dziczyzna), wild fowl dzikie ptactwo (ducks- kaczki, geese – gęsi, swans – łabędzie, and yes, some turkey), fish – ryby (cod – dorsz, eels – węgorze, and bass – okoń), shellfish –  skorupiaki (clams – małże, lobster – homar, and mussels), berries, fruit, wild onion, and some cultivated barley, wheat, vegetables, beans, dried Indian maize, and squash.  Since our own Thanksgiving menu has changed over time, this holiday, put some creativity into your Thanksgiving dinner and mix it up with some exciting Polish recipes!

Smacznego!

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.