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Cultures Essay

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A Christmas Season in Poland
In today’s society, it is very important to have knowledge of the different cultures that surround us. Most individuals that are born and raised in America practice the beliefs and social life of Americans. Most Americans tend to forget there are other cultures that surround us in our everyday life. However being born and raised as Americans, it is easy to ignore our descendents and our ancestors’ cultural background. In my case, my ancestors were Polish and have a very different cultural background than I do as an American. For instance, the Christmas season, which one would believe is celebrated the same way throughout the world, is in fact celebrated in various different ways.
In Poland, there is no Thanksgiving like in the USA. Therefore, there is not any special designated shopping day to start the Christmas season. The Polish Christmas season begins November 30th with a celebration called St. Andrew’s Day. There is a long tradition of fortune telling especially for non-married girls on the November 30th in Poland. Since November 30th is under a patronage of St. Andrew the habit of fortune telling is called St. Andrew’s Day. The main purpose of St. Andrew Day celebrations is to predict the future of unmarried girls, especially their prospects for a good marriage. St. Andrew’s Day is a night of magic for young girls (Urban-Klaehn, 2005).
     The next day of celebration during the Christmas season is St. Barbara's Day. One of the most celebrated days associated with workers group is St. Barbara's Day on December 4th. St. Barbara is a patron of coal miners. Miners' profession was always considered dangerous, but prestigious, therefore, this day called "Barbórka" or Barburka" was celebrated for centuries in a spectacular way. The name of the feast originates from St. Barbara as a patron (Pace, 1996).
On St. Barbara’s Day, miners are dressed in the special uniforms. The uniform consists of a black suit and hat with a feather. The color of the feather, white, red, or black, depends on the rank of the miner. Miners wear their decorative uniforms not only during Barborka, but also for weddings, funerals, and other important political or social ceremonies (Urban-Klaehn, 2005).
     Christmas and St. Nicolas Days are not celebrated at the same time in Poland, but th...


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...n Christmas season. However some practices are close to the same, the actions and the beliefs of Poles vary tremendously from those of Americans. How can the same holiday be celebrated in so many different ways by so two different cultures? Although my ancestors are Polish, being born and raised in America, I practice the beliefs and practices of the American people. Is this a good thing or is it a bad thing? I do not have the answer to that question, but I know that it has to be a good thing to for every individual to have knowledge of his or her ancestors and cultural background.








References
Houston, S. (2004). Christmas in Poland - Christmas Eve (Wigilia). News and Observer, pp. E1. Retrieved May 31, 2005, from Proquest database.
Urban-Klaehn, J. (2005). Christmas in Poland; St. Nicolaus Day (Dec. 6). Retrieved May 31, 2005, from http://www.bellaonline.com/about/polishculture
Urban-Klaehn, J. (2005). Christmas in Poland - Christmas Eve (Wigilia). Retrieved May 31, 2005, from http://www.bellaonline.com/about/polishculture
Pace R. (1996). Polish holidays are rich in old customs and tradition. Business America, 117 (12), 2-6. Retrieved May 31, 2005, from Proquest database.


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