17 January 2011

Understanding Flower Traditions in Poland


Visiting a friend or family member in Poland requires a beautiful tradition not practiced in the United States. Buying flowers as a gift. If you have a family member, or even a tour guide, with you who is helping you in your travels, they will suggest it and take you to one of hundreds of thousands of sites around Poland to buy flowers.

Flower stands are abundant in Poland. They are on street corners, in some one room huts overstuffed with gorgeous bouquets, in the Rynek (Town Squares) of each city, town, or even most villages.


Flower bouquets are inexpensive in Poland, I have seen bouquets for $2-5 being the average range in my personal experience. Bouquets could be of Sunflowers, Roses, Carnations, Exotic and Tropical flowers, Poppies (Poland's National Flower is the Corn or Red Poppy), Wildflowers, Gerberas, Tulips and others. They can be decorated with Evergreens, Ferns, Decorative Grasses, and other "Greenery". Flower bouquets always have an odd number. An even number is considered bad luck, and some believe it even invites death.

The flower tradition in Poland is so important that when being invited to someone's house, a wedding, funeral, anniversary, name day, birth, communion, or other social events, it is considered extremely rude not to bring flowers, especially in the summer when flower prices are so cheap.

At Polish weddings, flowers are a very important part of the decoration. The same is true of baptisms and Communions. Traditionally, at a First Holy Communion, the girls are adorned with crowns of white flowers and carry bouquets of White Lilies as a symbol of their innocence. Boys carry candles.

At a Polish wedding I had the privilege to attend, the bride's father had so many bouquets to transport from wedding guests that his car's trunk, back seat and front passenger seat were all filled.

At a Polish funeral I attended, the amount of flowers brought shocked me as well, as the grave was so covered with bouquets that you could not see the grave itself.  One important fact when seeing the abundance of flowers on graves in Poland, is that they tend to be taken care of by family members, rather than the cemetary.  Yet, graves very often have fresh bouquets on them as well as candles.


Flowers in Poland are also very affordable to order online or over the phone and have delivered, even if you are living out of the country.

The tradition of Flowers in Poland is a very subtle but important part of that country's unique charm.  To say that Poles love flowers is an understatement.  Their love of flowers is in everything they do.

Torun's Door

Na razie...


Anonymous said...

I actually remember as a kid that people would always bring flowers as a hostess gift to dinner. For me, I stoppe buying flowers here (USA) bc if price & feeling like it was a wasted expense & bc competition to get the best flowers. But the way you put it reminds me of how a simple gesture can brighten a day.

Anonymous said...

I have recently met a polish survivor of the war.She invited me for coffee so I thought I would bring flowers as a polite gesture. Then I Googled polish flowers to see if I could bring her something of her homeland. Who knew!

Unknown said...

mark b, that is such a sweet thought you had. I hope your simple gesture brightened up her day. I'd love to hear how your visit turns out.