18 January 2024

Polish Traditions We Cultivate: Grandparents' Day

Truth be told, we don't follow many Polish traditions. Most of the holidays in the Polish calendar are Catholic religious festivals, which as a Muslim household we obviously won't celebrate. 

There are, however, a few traditions that we do follow - they would usually be days to celebrate our nearest and dearest. One of these is Grandparents' Day, or actually two days, because Grandmothers and Grandfathers get a day each.

Dzień Babci (Grandma's Day) is celebrated on the 21st of January, and Dzień Dziadka (Grandpa's Day) falls the day after, on the 22nd. The holiday itself isn't that old - the idea of celebrating Grandmother's Day in Poland first came about in 1964, in women's magazine Kobieta i Życie, popularised the following year, and has been celebrated ever since. 

Grandparents' Day doesn't seem to be something celebrated in the UK, but apparently, it does exist. It was proposed by the charity Age Concern in 1990 and falls on the first Sunday in October, but it hasn't really been adopted by the British public.

I found out that quite a few countries around the world celebrate the Grandparents' Day on various dates throughout the year, but interestingly Poland seems to be the only one that splits that between two separate days, one for Grandmothers and one for Grandfathers. However, in my family we'd normally combine the two and celebrate all the Grandparents in one day, usually the 21st - when we visited grandmas with flowers and cards, we would also take grandads' gifts since we were already going over. If that couldn't work, then we would visit one set of Grandparents on the 21st, and then the others on the 22nd.

Now I've passed this on to my own children, even though it's not something celebrated in the UK. We never really bought gifts for that day, only flowers for grandmas and then some handmade cards or maybe a new photo of us grandchildren, so now I do the same with my children - if I remember early enough, I ask them to make pictures that I can send to my mum and dad, and something for their last great-grandma (my maternal grandmother), if not we just call them with wishes and take some nice photo of them together, particularly for my Nan who keeps photos of all us granddaughters and her great-grandchildren on display. 

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