Poles like to party

In the Catholic world, Carnival is a period of balls and parties which
begins on the Epiphany (on the 6 th of January) and ends on Tuesday before
Shrove Tuesday –forty days before Easter.
In the old days, Carnival in Poland was called “zapusty” and was
celebrated very sumptuously together wiith family, friends and neighbours. The
main attraction would have been balls organised in aristocratic mansions which
were acompanied by other activities like sleigh ride cavalcads or bonfires in the
frosty air. Food used to be abundant and greasy, consisting of sausages, roasted
venison, mutton and many other tasty dishes. Nowadays, Carnival is celebrated
mainly by young people in discotheques, clubs and at home parties. The cuisine
has become much lighter than before and even though Poles still like to drink
vodka and beer, wine is becoming more and more popular. Of course
everything depends on the crowd and the occasion. For example, we can always
see vodka shots at weddings or other big family celebrations.
Polish people like parties very much, so for sure you will have a lot of
opportunities to observe how people entertain. Let’s imagine that you are invited
for a party to somebody’s place. The host is welcoming you at the door and you
should say: “Dzień dobry”[djen do-bri] (good afternoon), “Cześć”[cheshch]
(hi) or “Dobry wieczór”[do-bri vye-choor].
A useful phrase and easy to pronounce for wishing somebody something
for New Year, birthday, nameday or wedding is: “Wszystkiego dobrego”
[vshist-kye-go dob-re-go] (all the best, all good for you).
Drinking gives us a chance to propose toasts and Poles are normally very
inventive. The most universal and popular toasts are “ Na zdrowie” na zdro- vye or “Za nas” (For us). If you don’t want to drink or you are unable
to drink, you can use phrases: “Nie piję alkoholu” [nye pee-ye al-ko-ho-loo] (I
don’t drink alcohol) or “Jestem kierowcą” [yestem kye-rof-cow] (I’am driving)
. You can aslo announce “Mam drinka” (I have a drink) or you can say very
honestly “Mam słabą głowę”[mam swa-bow guove] (I have a weak head
meaning I don’t tolerate alcohol well) or simply “Nie, dziekuję” [nye, djen-koo-
ye], (no, thanks) should work as well. If you agree to refill your glass, you just
use body language or say: ‘Tak, proszę” [tak, pro-she] (yes, please).
Another thing which you should know is that Poles like to dance. Very
popular nowadays are dance courses and programs about dancing, we dance in
discos, clubs, house parties, even if our dance style is not very sophisticated, we
try to dance. So if you want to join the group of dancers, you will have no
problem. But when you want to dance with a woman or man one to one, a very
helpful would be: “ Czy chcesz zatańczyć?” [chi htzesh za-tan-chich?] (Do you
want to dance?). We assume that the answer is “Tak” (Yes). So now you can try
to make simple conversation in Polish using sentences like:
“Jak się nazywasz?” [yak she na-zi-vash] (What’s your name/surname)
“ Nazywam się …”[na-zi-vam she…] (My name/surname is…)

„Na imię mi…”[na ee-mye mee…], (My first name is…)
„ Miło mi” [mee-wo mee] (Nice to meet you)
“Skąd jesteś?”[skond yes-tesh?] (Where are you from?)
. „Jestem z…”[yestem z…] (I’m from…)
In case you have any problems in following conversation in Polish or you don’t
understand everything properly, use these phrases:
“Słucham?” [swoo-ham?] (beg your pardon?)
“Nie rozumiem”[nye ro-zoo-myem”] (I don’t understand)
“Nie mówię po polsku” [nye moo-vye po pol-skoo] (I don’t speak Polish)
„Czy mówisz po angielsku?”[chi moo-veesh pa an-gyel-skoo?] (Do you speak
You can be sure that your plate and glass will be not empty during the
whole party. As it’s Carnival time, it’s hard not to overindulge. So specialists
usually give the following advice: before drinking, eat something greasy, don’t
mix your drinks, try not smoke while drinking, take a good rest before a party,
allow 20 minutes to refill your glass, avoid drinks with gas and try to drink a lot
of water (ideally with lemon juice) !You will need to know how to say: “Czy
jest woda?” [chi yest vo-da?] (Is there any water?)
“ Poproszę kawę ”[po-pro-she ka-ve] (May I have a coffee please?)
“ Poproszę herbatę”[po-pro-she her-ba-te] (May I have a tee please?)
Before going home it would be great to say something nice to the hosts,
“ Dobrze się bawiłem (form for man) /bawiłam (form for woman)” [dob-zhe
she ba-vee-wem/ba-vee-wam] (I’ve had a great time)
or „Dziękuję za wszystko” [djen-koo-ye za vshist-ko] (Thanks for everything),
“Kolacja byla doskonała” [ko-lats-ya bi-wa dos-ko-na-wa] (The dinner was
delicious) and for the end: “Do zobaczenia”[ do zo-ba-che-nya] ( see you later) ,
“Do widzenia” do vee-dze-nya or “ Do jutra”[do yoo-tra] ( see
you tomorrow).
I hope you will enjoy your parties in January…
All the best in 2013!

This article was published in “The Wrocław International”- Wrocław’s first
English-language newspaper, January 2011, Issue 3, ISSN 2082-730X