Cultural: Mother's Day, Father's Day, Children's Day, etc.
Yes, they have each of those days here in Poland.
As someone who grew up in the USA, I was used to this kind of day being held on a Sunday - meaning that it fluctuated from year to year. Here in Poland these days are "hard and fast" and stay the same. Obviously there are pros and cons for each system. The biggest "pro" for having a set date is that you always know when it is - and can at least, theoretically plan around it. Obviously the biggest "con" is that they don't usually fall on the weekend, so finding the time to do something special for mom, for example, on Mother's Day might be impossible.
So let me talk about each of these:
Mother's Day is May 26 each year.
The stores seem to sell a lot of flowers and I saw people carrying flowers on the street. I believe it is a common gift for "mom". How do we celebrate it here? Well, since I really want my kids to call me on Mother's day as celebrated in the USA -- as it is easier due to work and the time difference - I have no expectations for this day here in Poland. This year, however, we splurged and went out to McD's for lunch. There they were celebrating it by having one lady make balloon animals for the little kids that came in with their moms.
I believe flowers for mom is the most common gift. The emphasis seems to be on telling your mom you love her - I like that as this is something that everyone can do who has a living mom!
Father's Day is June 23 every year.
I never personally celebrated this one over here - but once again, the stores have things for guys/men for sale like wallets and sporting goods. My dad lived in Florida the entire time he was alive and we were in Poland, so I had no reason to give it much thought. We also tended to celebrate the American one here in our own home - simply because it was easier on a Sunday than in the middle of a hectic week. Fathers tend to get kind of gypped in this celebration thing anyway. I'm not sure they even mind, however. I think most of these kinds of celebrations are for women, anyway.
Children's Day is June 1.
Traditionally kids get a present on this day from their parents - and sometimes quite a nice one! I didn't realize it was even a holiday at first here in Poland--I'm like my mom in this regards - "Every day is Children's Day".
Anyway, after our kids started going to Polish school and they became aware that all the other kids "got something", they sort of, kind of complained that they didn't get anything.
Well, we had 5 kids - many of those other kids were only children, or there were 2 children in the family. We were trying to gather money for other things right then, usually and I felt like my bank was dry about June 1. Right then I was trying to make sure I had enough $ for school books for the next school year. It wasn't a good time for us to have to buy something "big" for each of my kids.
Anyway, I rebelled - I told my kids they didn't need another present on June 1 - we had birthdays on Feb. 8, May 20, August 28, Dec. 1, and Dec. 20 in addition to Christmas and necessary items. I wasn't adding a big present in there for Children's Day. I did relent and agree to buy them a candy bar, however. They were okay with that. (It's a good thing, huh?)
Sometimes the towns have small little carnivals or other kinds of fun celebrations for the children on June 1. Schools usually do something special - like have a field day when no classes are held (school is still going on until almost the end of June).
Grandmother's Day is January 21. and Grandfather's Day is January 22.
In our lives, these days were not celebrated at all. However, the schools tend to have special programs when the kids are little and grandparents are invited.
Obviously my kids' grandparents weren't going to come across the ocean for a school program that they couldn't understand - and in January when it is cold - no way! It was sweet though, and nice for the other grandparents. When they made something for babcia and dziadka in school and brought it home I tried to send it back to mom and dad--it was only when the kids were quite small that that happened. I guess I left out my husband's side, though! Not good.
Tomorrow is Children's Day. Kids all over will get presents! Schools, while officially having school, will have a field day, movies, or field trips.
And now you know!