Traditions across Europe-an eTwinning project

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, TRADITION and myth frame our response.” (Arthur Schlesinger Jr.)

No Fur Day- 25th November – Poland November 25, 2008

Filed under: 1 — ligregni @ 3:17 pm

It is a day of protests against wearing fur . People organizing the protests every year try to convince Polish society how cruel it is to kill animals just to get their fur. The aim of the action is making such practices illegal.

To join the action it is enough to collect signatures under petitions, give leaflets to people in the street, put posters on the walls or even organize a multimedia presentation at schools. Even Presidents of Polish Universities in a way joined the action, some of them promised to reconsider using artificial fur for their gowns.

Gimnazjum nr 18, Gdańsk, Poland


25th November – Teddy Bear Day (“plush” bear) in Poland

Filed under: New traditions — ligregni @ 2:49 pm

They are soft, nice to touch, have dark eyes made with buttons, glass or plastic, they are favourite children’s toys, but adults like hugging them too. 25th November in Poland is World Teddy Bear Day (światowy Dzień Pluszowego Misia).

The first producer of the famous bears, an American, actually had the idea of the toy after he sa w the picture in which American President, Theodore Roosevelt does not want to shoot a bear cub while he is hunting. Teddy is a diminutive form of Theodore. To celebrate the event, 100 years later the 25th November became World Teddy Bear Day.

In Poland children love to celebrate the day, they bring plush bears to their kindergarden and proudly show them to their friends and teachers and of course play with them. Sometimes they have them dressed up.

Open to the world – keep memories

World Teddy (“plush”) Bear Day

In some museums different exhibitions are organized. In Kielce, e.g. at the Museum of Toys and Play children can admire 135 teddy bears from Poland and other countries. In Poland we have a teddy bear – Miś Uszatek, from an old Polish cartoon film and known by not only children but also their parents and

grandparents. At the museum you can also admire another famous Polish teddy bear saved during Warsaw Uprisal (1944).

In Poland there is a magazine for children called “MIś” (Bear), the year 2007 was announced by the magazine as “Bear’s Year”.

I think it is a very funny day. It is a perfect opportunity to spend time with all the family and play with plush bears.

by Magda

Gimnazjum nr 18, Gdańsk, Poland


St. Andrew’s Day in Romania

Filed under: Old traditions — ivasil @ 1:38 pm


The 30th of November is one of the important Romanian holidays. It is the day we celebrate Saint Andrew (in Romanian his name is Andrei), the apostle who christianised our people and  the protector of our country.
There are many traditions without religious meaning connected to this day, some of them having their origin on the Roman celebrations of Saturn. The Dacian New Year took place from the 14th of November until the 7th of  December, this was the interval when time began its course.
Saint Andrew is seen as an old man, because now the Sun is old and tired  too, it has no power. From the weather this day one can predict if the winter is going to be long and  frosty.
One of the elements that came from the Roman and Thracian celebrations was the one about wolves. Is it only a coincidence that we, the descendants of Dacians, whose flag was shaped as a wolf, have chosen the patron of wolves as our protector? During this night, the wolves are allowed to eat  all the animals they want. It is said that they can speak, too, but anyone that hears them will die soon.
Early on St. Andrew’s day, the mothers go into the garden and pick tree branches, especially  from apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees, but also rose -bush branches. They make a  bunch of  branches for each family member. The one whose bunch will bloom by New Years day will be lucky and healthy next year.
On St. Andrew’s night ghosts haunt and harass the people. For protection, one should rub the entrance door with garlic and turn all the dishes upside down. A special party takes place now, called “Guarding the garlic”. Boys and girls gather in a house with the doors and windows rubbed with garlic . They also put garlic (three bulbs for each girl) in a wooden tub that is to be guarded till day-break by an old woman, in a candle-lit  oom. They party all night and in the morning  the wooden tub is taken outside and they dance around it. Then they all take some garlic home as protection against illness or spells.

St. Andrew is the patron of the wolves, being the one who protects the people attacked by these animals. St. Andrew is also celebrated in order that the wolves should stay away from the households or from the travelers. The salt is charmed and buried under the door of the stable. It will be taken out on St. George and given to the cattle, as a protection against the wolves and other evil things.

Nothing is lent on this day, so that the products of the field shouldn’t be stolen. The women aren’t allowed to wash or to comb their hair.

The children put apple, pear or plum branches in the water, so that they would bloom. These will be used on St. Vasile, as a “sorcova”. The girls and boys seed wheat and the one whose wheat grew more will be the luckiest one.
But the best known tradition connected to this night is the one about matrimony and premonitory dreams. Single girls must put under their pillow either a branch of  sweet basil, or , better 41 wheat grains.If someone takes the grains in their dreams, that means the girl will marry soon. They can also plant wheat in a dish and water it until New Year’s day. The nicer the wheat looks that day, the better the year to come.
All these traditions have no religious meaning, but they are preserved in Romanian people’s hearts and they are followed year after year.

Irina and the kids from Shool no 92, Bucharest


Polish manners in the past and today. What we know about the past. November 24, 2008

Filed under: life in the past — ligregni @ 5:47 pm

In the past Sarmatians…

strongly valued social and family ties. Women were treated with honour and gallantry. Conversations were one of the favourite preoccupations. Guests were always welcomed – relatives, friends, even strangers, especially from abroad. Latin was widely spoken. Sumptuous feasts with large amount of alcohol were organised. Male quarrels and fighting during such events were quite common. At the parties the polonaise, mazurka, and oberek were the most popular dances. Honour was of prime relevance. Men lived longer than women, they also got married later. Marriage was described as ‘deep friendship’. Men often travelled a lot (to the Sejms, Sejmiki, indulgences, law courts, or common movements). Women stayed at home and took care of the property, livestock and children. Although large numbers of children were born, many of them died before reaching maturity. Girls and boys were brought up separately, either in the company of women or men. Suing, even for really irrelevant things was common, but in most cases a compromise was reached. (from

What do we think about manners in the past and today?

I think in the past people had better mannners. For example, nobility and knights when they were fighting, they respected their rival. People also knew many foreign cute languages.

by Magda

In my opinion in the past women were treated in a different way and they behaved differently. They looked like ladies, behaved like ones so they were respected.

by Laura

In the past people had better mannners than now, e.g. they were more polite, they were greeting everyone, men kissed women’s hands and people had more respect for eleders. Today teenagers are vulgar and htey have no respect for others. They don’t want to study, they cheat and play truant. There is no toleration for people with other skin colours and religions, even disabled people are discriminated against.

by Kasia

In the past situation was better. People were obeying rules. Honour and nobility were the most important. It is great to read about nobles.

I think good manners are very important in our lives. You should treat everyone in a way that you want to be treated.
Nowadays people are becoming too confident. They think the world is theirs. They don’t care about others. Teenagers are trying to show their strength by being rude.

by Zuzia

In the past people (especially nobility) had different manners from ours. A noble was helpful and not prejudiced.

by Karolina

Nowadays people are not as tolerant or polite as they were in the past.
In the contemportary world people are different than in the past. Today’s teenagers don’t obey the rules. They are rude and nasty to other people.

Most of good manners are still appreciated, but presently people aren’t as polite and tolerant as in the past.

by Julia

In our granfathers’ times people were more polite, they were very helpful, even to strangers. In the 19th century in (Polish) houses children did the housework, they didn’t argue about it with their parents. They didn’t smoke, drink and weren’t sexually active at young age.

Teenage boys were really nice for girls, they treated them like ladies.

by Małgosia

class 3, Gimnazjum nr 18, Gdańsk, Poland


2nd November – All Souls Day in Polish tradition (with pagan roots) and literature

Filed under: Old traditions — ligregni @ 4:47 pm

The 2nd November is a special occasion to pray for our family and for those that died but are still in purgatory waiting to be able to enter heaven.

The masses are held in churches just on the 1st November.

A Polish great poet and writer, Adam Mickiewicz, described this day in his book entitled “Dziady”. “Dziady” in English has a meaning of “grandfathers” or “forefathers” or just old men. The day was actually called Dziady in the past in Poland. It is an old tradition with pagan roots celebrated in the area of Eastern Poland, Belarus and Lithuania about four times a year.

According to Mickiewicz, common peopl were gathering in abandned houses or chapels near the cemeteries with food and drinks for the souls. The souls were then summoned back and their life and deeds were discussed and judged according to the folk wisdom. People were judged not only for what they did but also for what they didn’t do, failed to do or for what they lacked.

by Natalia, Sandra and Martyna

Gimnazjum nr 18, Gdańsk


30th November in Poland – St Andrew’s Night

Filed under: Old traditions — ligregni @ 4:16 pm

It is a special day. On this day we celebrate a tradition of future telling, especially for non married girls.

This event, in Polish called Andrzejki, has been celebrated in Poland since the turn of 16 and 17th centuries. The main purpose of Andrzejki celebrations is to predict the future of an unmarried girl, especially her prospects of finding a good relationship. Young men also celebrate a similar event on St Catherine’s night, but it is not as popular as Andrzejki and some people have never heard about it.

Some of the rituals on the Andrzejki night:

  • pouring melted wax through a key into a bowl of cold water, (the shadows created this way help guess the future) it must be dark in the room and there can be only a candle light, of course it adds to the atmosphere of the evening.

  • pieces of paper with male first names are put on the edges of the bowl filled with water. A candle in the middle of it will burn one of the pieces first thus telling the name of a future husband .

  • three cups flipped upside down, under them a wedding ring, a small cross and a green plant are put. Who choses the ring will have a happy marriage, a cross will bring a life in monastery and the green plant is predicting the unmarried life.
  • tossing shoes of girls, shoes are arranged one after another along the wall and moved gradually one after another in the direction of the door. The first pair on the doorstep will belong to the girl who will get married as first.

by Aleksandra, Filip and Nikola

In Poland we eat everyday meals on this day, we know in Scotland people eat fish because st Andrew was a fisherman (st. Andrew is the patron of Scotland).

On this day we sometimes have a pyjama party. We can eat chips and drink piccolo and watch horror films.

by Agnieszka, Marta, Klaudia and Asia

Gimnazjum nr 18, Poland


11th November – Poland’s Independence Day (Dzień Niepodległosci) and Saint Martin croissants

Filed under: Traditional recipes — ligregni @ 3:37 pm

In Polish cities, on 11th November (Polish Independence Day, a national holiday, the anniversary of regaining independence in 1918), a well known saint, Saint Martin, is celebrated – all people traditionally eat Saint Martin croissants, tons of croissants each year are eaten.

Unlike French croissants, they are crescent-shaped sweetrolls with poppyseed-almond filling.

I have found the recipe for the croissants at .

“Makes 16 St. Martin’s Day Croissants

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • Dough:
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (not rapid rise)
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) melted lukewarm butter
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • .
  • Filling:
  • 1 (12-ounce) can poppyseed filling
  • 1 (12-ounce) can almond filling
  • .
  • Glaze:
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water, more or less
  • 2 ounces toasted sliced almonds


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine yeast, milk, and 1 tablespoon sugar until yeast has dissolved.
  2. Add egg yolks, confectioners’ sugar and butter to bowl and mix. Add flour and knead thoroughly until dough is smooth and starts to blister, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. Working with one dough half at a time, roll each into a 1/4-inch thick circle. Using a pizza wheel or nonserrated pastry cutter, cut into 8 pie-shaped wedges.Note: Instead of 16 individual crescents, you can make two large crescents.
  4. In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine poppyseed and almond filings. Place 1 tablespoon filling at the wide edge of the triangle and roll away from you. Place, point side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet forming into a crescent shape. Repeat with the remaining triangles. Repeat wth remaining half of dough. Cover with plastic and let crescents rise until doubled.
  5. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake croissants about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. Combine confectioners’ sugar and enough water to make a runny glaze. Frost crescents and sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds. Great with hot tea or coffee.”

The croissants are so tasty people also prepare them before and after the day.

By class 1, Gimnazjum nr 18, Gdańsk, Poland