Like most celebrations in Poland, birthdays are a pretty special occasion.
My son Oliver turned ten years old on 27/04/20. Our kids are pretty lucky when it comes to Christmas, Easter and Birthdays. They're fortunate to have both Polish & English celebrations.
Cake & songs
“We always get two cakes on our Birthdays, My English Grandparents make us a decorated victoria Sponge birthday cake and my Polish Babcia makes us tort urodzinowy, we get to hear Happy birthday in English and 'sto lat' in Polish” . Sophie
A standard birthday in our house means both sides of the family meeting up. We eat different cakes and sing in two languages. Friends and godparents visit too and one friend in particular always insists on the 'Polish birthday cake'. We often have to send extra pieces home with them!
Coronavirus means adapting
Obviously, we had no family visit us this year on Oliver's birthday. His family have sent cards and gifts but can't be here in person. They all called via video call and he got plenty of attention. Oliver got to choose what we had for dinner and he chose a local pub that are currently delivering their food, they have the best buffalo wings!!
Just like the Queen, Polish people have two birthdays.
“When Kinga first told me she was celebrating her name day, I wondered what the heck she was talking about”. Adam
Poles celebrate their urodziny (birthday) but they also celebrate their 'imieniny' (name day). Each Polish first name has it's own day of celebration. As an example Kinga (along with: ,Krystyna, Krzesimir, Augustyn, Olga, Wiktor and Wojciech) celebrates her name day on 24th July and Adam on 24th December (along with Ewa of course and lots more).
Women often receive flowers and men a small gift such as chocolate. For older people in Poland they often say the name day is more important than their actual birthday.
Poles celebrate lots of special days throughout the year. Important days are: Dzien Babci (Grandmother's day), Dzien Dziadka (Grandfather's day), Dzien Matki (Mother's day), Dzien ojca (father's day), Dzien Dziecka (kid's day) and Tlusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday) a bit like shrove Tuesday in the UK but the Poles and eat the most amazing pączki (Polish donuts - pictured above).
We will discuss all of these and plenty more another time.