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Walentynki Posted by on Feb 11, 2011 in Culture, traditions

Valentine’s Day (Walentynki) has not been celebrated in Poland until very recently. Only after the collapse of the Eastern European Block and the consequent opening of Poland’s borders this well known, especially in English-language cultures holiday entered polish society. Romantic Poles (romantyczni Polacy) were very quick in adopting Valentines Day and nowadays it as popular in Poland as anywhere else.

The celebration (świętowanie) of Valentine’s Day in Poland is quite like the way the holiday is observed in the U.S and other western nations. Card and gift shops are stacked with beautiful greeting cards and romantic gifts (romantyczne prezenty) even days before February 14. Hotels (hotele), resorts (rezorty) and restaurants (restauracje) are decorated in advance of the celebrations. They offer attractive dinner packages to local couples and visiting tourists. Local flower shops (lokalne kwiaciarnie) are packed with fresh (świeże), beautiful flowers (śliczne kwiaty) that spoil lovers and gift-givers with choices. Tourism companies organize special games and competitions for the holiday. For people interested to visit Poland, this is an attractive time to make a trip to the country. It is a fantastic time to check out Chełmno, a small town that offers beautiful sights to its visitors. On Valentine’s Day, hundreds of lovers make a trip to an ancient Valentine altar located in Chełmno. This is why the town is also known as “The lover’s city” (Miasto zakochanych). They pray for a happy wedded life to the couples whom Saint Valentine is believed to have married off here. Modern day couples exchange flowers, love quotes, cards and goodies with each other in this place. When night falls, thousands of lights are lit at the center of the town to create a huge electronic heart. You can well imagine how lovely it looks like!

The gifting is generally done by men to women. It is traditionally a time when women are pampered by their lovers or husbands with gifts like:
greeting cards (kartki z życzeniami), flower bouquets (bukiety kwiatów), perfumes (perfumy), candies (słodycze), jewelry (biżuteria), chocolates (czekoladki),  goodies like heart-shaped cookies (ciastka w kształcie serca), lingerie (bielizna) and gift baskets (koszyki z prezentami)
Women generally return the favor with gadgets and gift baskets. These days, electronic items like DVDs and digital photo albums are also gaining popularity as Valentine’s Day gifts. Red roses (czerwone róże) and tulips (tulipany) are the popular flowers used for Polish Valentine’s Day celebrations.
Valentine’s Day in Poland is a perfect time for lovers who are interested in enjoying some quality time with their partners in a beautiful romantic setting.

Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji Walentynek!

Do następnego razu! (Till next time…)

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About the Author:Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in 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.


  1. John Haywood:

    I’m a little confused!
    You say Valentines Day has only recently been celebrated in Poland and then in another paragraph state people visit “an ancient Valentine altar”.
    Maybe something has been lost in translation?

  2. ewelina:


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