Valentine's Day in Poland – My Polish Heritage

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Valentine's Day in Poland

Contrary to popular opinion, Valentine's Day existed in Poland long before the fall of Communism. In fact it began in Middle Ages when cult of Saint Valentine, patron of love, commemorated on February 14, came to Poland from Germany. But until 90s, celebrating this day was very local and always had religious overtones. Modern version of Valentine's Day came with westernization. But even today Polish Valentine's Day has some unique traditions.

Polish "the city of lovers" (miasto zakochanych) is Chełmno, small town near Łódź, where young couples come to pray for happy marriage. Valentine's Day is very important celebration with many events in this town. It has became that way because the relics of Saint Valentine are preserved in local parish church since around  year 1300, creating old and powerful tradition of celebrating the day of the patron of love. Lublin and Kraków also have the relics of Saint Valentine and his celebrations, but both celebrations and saint's cult are much smaller.

Poland has it's own share of Bridges of Lovers, where lovers promise each other eternal love and attach the lock to the bridge with their names to seal their promise. After that they throw key to lock to river. Three most important Bridges of Lovers are: the Father Bernatek Footbridge in Krakow, the Poniatowski Bridge in Warsaw and the Tumski Bridge in Wroclaw.

Very popular Valentine's gift in Poland is gingerbread heart. Of course the best heart, other than your own, that you can give on this day is made from Toruń gingerbread.


Photo from wikipedia

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