Do Polish people celebrate Halloween?

by Ewelina Nurczyk in: Free Time, 13 Oct 2017     0 Comments

A frequent question with a not so straightforward answer anymore. Is Halloween a holiday celebrated in Poland? What attitude do Poles have towards it? If not Halloween, then what? Find out by reading further on.

Not the most popular sight in Polish households...

Not the most popular sight in Polish households...

Western tradition

As a rule, Halloween is not a Polish tradition and it is only remotely connected to other pagans rituals of different Slavic nations. Yes, they all focused around death, but Halloween as we know it originated among Celtic tribes and now is considered a solely Anglo-Saxon holiday. Were it not for globalisation, Poles would still be more likely to celebrate their own ancient holidays. What would these be?

If not Halloween, then what?

Dziady would be the Polish answer to Halloween, although this ancient Slavic feast is far from being popular in any modern sense. Its traces can be found in Romantic Polish literature, when one of Poland’s greatest poets, Adam Mickiewicz, described an ancient feast for the dead, taking place in a secluded chapel on a cemetery. This depiction does send shivers down one’s spine, definitely more than dress-up parties in Northern America nowadays!

Trick-or-treating

However, with the arrival of mass media, TV, films and other Western influence, those fancy-dress parties had to appear in Poland eventually. Is it mass-scale? Definitely no, but it is gaining popularity, especially among the youth, who naturally prefer fun Halloween-themed parties to more sombre Polish traditions of early November.

Poland also does not have the tradition of trick-or-treating, but again, some children started to introduce it in their neighbourhoods. It is possible that this will spread wider, as Halloween is widely discussed in primary schools with pupils during obligatory English lessons.

Pumpkins

The most popular Halloween symbol is a carved pumpkin serving as a lantern. Once again, Poles do not put Jack-o’lanterns outside their houses, but you may have seen more and more of them in shopping malls or at English schools. Pumpkins are not even European vegetables; they were brought to Poland long after Columbus’ discovery, in the 16th century, but now some Polish farmers do produce pumpkins as well.

So what are your thoughts – should Poles adapt this new tradition or stick to their old holidays? Have you ever witnessed Halloween celebrations in Poland? 

See also

The ultimate guide to top 10 Christmas gifts from Poland

Top 10 Christmas gifts from Poland

Bring home a taste of Poland – read the list of ten Polish-themed gifts for Christmas!
Read more

6 reasons why Poland takes Christmas to the next level

Polish Christmas vs. the rest of the world

Is Polish Christmas one of a kind? Compare it with your traditions and let us know!
Read more

Exchange student starter pack – what to bring to Poland?

Exchange student starter pack

What to bring to Poland while coming for a student exchange or Erasmus programme? Let us help you out.
Read more

Author
Ewelina Nurczyk

Ewelina Nurczyk

Editor

Contact the author

Editor at CareersinPoland.com. A graduate of English studies and Polish language and literature at Warsaw University, specialising in teaching Polish to foreigners. 

Related articles

The beginning of spring comes with a few unusual traditions in Poland such as Truant's Day or the "drowning of Marzanna". Have you heard of them? Read more

Are you planning some sightseeing in Poland this year? Find out what you can do in these Polish cities during your summer holiday! Read more

Find it hard to make friends in Poland? In this article we explain Polish relationships in a nutshell! Read more

A skiing trip or a weekend of rest in a spa resort? Everybody can find something to their liking in Poland. Which destinations are the most popular in winter? Read more

Where to go and what to do during your holiday stay in Poland? Here are a bunch of places where you can unwind and stop worrying about doing nothing! Read more