Mother's Day in Poland, May 26

Mother's Day (Dzien Matki) in Poland is celebrated on the 26th of May. My mother never liked this day because she remembered it first from the time of the war. Germans occupants enforced its celebration in Silesia - as a Muttertag, where my mother grew up. But the first celebration of Mother's Day in Poland took place in 1923 in Krakow, but this feast was not really very popular until the WW II and the years short after the war.

Mother's Day is marked with the special celebrations in schools and kindergardens. Younger children prepare so called "laurki" for their mothers. ( laurka - is a sheet of paper decorated with flowers on which children write their wishes to their mothers). Schools often carry special ceremonies or classes to commemorate Mother's Day.

What was a life of a typical Polish mother during communism? Not easy. Polish mothers had plenty of responsibilities. Majority of women worked professionally - outside of the house. Partly due to the communistic idea that everybody has to work for the wellbeing of the country, partly due to a fact that their husbands salary is not sufficient to secure a wellbeing of the family. Working part-time was never very popular in Poland, so this was not an option.

Besides working outside of the home women took care of the household. They had to buy and prepare food and take care of the children. Polish family is not especially patriarchal and macho type is not that popular therefore some men, husbands and fathers do bear some responsibilities with the family and the household, but still women are usually in charge.

Eating out was not that popular in Poland since it is quite expensive and it is limited usually to the special occasion. Besides, the variety of restaurants was very limited, almost no any ethnic food was offered (except Polish food of course). Preparing food was also more troublesome than in the USA where almost ready dish can be bought in any grocery. But this is changing now, and more partly or fully prepared products are available on the market.

Especially difficult was time of the economical crisis in late seventies and eighties when there was a constant deficit of food and other products on the market and food even became rationed. We describe this situation in the series of articles food crisis in Poland. In that time women not only had to work and take care of the household but they have to think about how to get food to the table!

Presently Polish mothers have easier life in some aspects - abundant food is available everywhere in the stores. On the other hand the high unemployment rate (almost 20%, read more about it in the article Unemployment in Poland - in Figures ) affected women more than men. It is in part due to a fact that women as mothers are entitled to some social benefits because of their motherhood. Read more about it in the article Unemployment among Women - the Price of Motherhood.

© by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn, May 8, 2004 (article #191)

The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement, 1890-1920
by Aileen S. Kraditor


The most extensive and varied Polish cookbook ever published in English, with over 2,200 recipes in 20 categories, written especially for Americans with American weights, measures and temperatures a book written by Robert Strybel, Maria Strybel , entitled Polish Heritage Cookery

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