Life & work
Any foreigner working or studying in Poland probably already expects that – Polish people love food and any occasion is good to have a drink with your friends. You have survived Polish Christmas, so pluck up the courage and prepare for the last round of Polish celebrations. This holiday is no different – a symbolic glass of champagne is not enough to welcome the New Year and your stomach must be prepared for not only some tiny snacks, but tables heavy with hot dishes. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to that.
Here’s to some old pagan traditions. In the past Slavic people used to believe that noise was able to scare off evil forces. Young boys ran around with rattles to drive out anything that could cause possible misfortunes in the upcoming year. Nowadays we don’t need that – with spectacular fireworks displays and all sorts of firecrackers the levels of noise are definitely above the average during this special evening.
Money makes the world go round, so don’t be surprised if on New Year’s Eve one of your Polish friends whispers to you something about having a carp’s scale in their wallet. Carp, a fish eaten as the main dish on Christmas Eve in Poland, is believed to bring good luck. If somebody is smart enough, they’ll save a small part of the fish and carry it in their wallet as a magnet for cash starting on New Year’s Eve. This tradition sounds weird enough, but hey – get rich or die trying!
If you’re invited to a house party on New Year’s Eve, don’t expect it to be as spotless clean as always. In fact, it is the only time of the year when Polish housewives don’t stress about shiny floors. And there’s a reason for that – some Poles believe that while tidying, you can accidentally sweep out (or rather – suck into your vacuum cleaner) your happiness. On the other hand, although your house may be a bit messy, everyone boasts a fridge full of food. Greeting the New Year with a stuffed pantry certainly assures good fortune for the next twelve months.
While some of the above are plain superstitions, this one is a tradition that many Polish people are still very serious about. No one in this country wants to start the New Year with debt at the back of their head. Therefore, it is common practice to reach out to an avoided friend and finally settle your things like grown-up people. Some take this even further - don’t be surprised if your friend gives back a book that was borrowed half a year ago. You know what they say – better safe than sorry!
Do any of these make sense to you? Not all of these traditions have a countrywide following, but they certainly are a lot of fun and let you enter the New Year with a huge dose of optimism. Let us know about your ideas for one of the most special evenings of the year!