Question of the day.

Hi guys. 🙂

My question for you today is:

What are your family traditions, if any?

My answer:

I don’t know if we have any very unusual traditions that would be specific for us, if so, I can’t think of them right now. We are Polish, so naturally we have a lot of typically Polish traditions, as well as Catholic so Christian traditions are also present. We are a rather traditional family but I don’t think we have many traditions just of our own. The only thing I can think of is giving a child their parent’s first name as a middle, but, first, that’s more of a regional tradition of Kashubia, and second, not everyone in my extended family follows that, so I don’t really think it counts.

Yours? 🙂

Question of the day (5th May).

Would you ever consider naming your child after yourself, so she/he would be a “junior”? What would you think if this custom came back?

My answer:

Back when I was still using my birth name, and didn’t really think seriously about changing it, despite I did already think about myself as Emilia and loved this name, I thought that maybe if I had a daughter, I could call her Emilia instead. But now, even if I wouldn’t change my name to Emilia, it doesn’t seem a good idea for me. I think I would feel like something is not right if I did that. I could give my potential daughter my name as a middle, but probably wouldn’t, despite it is a kind of custom in our family and our region. I find it nice but boring.

Emilia is also a really hot name at the moment, I guess quite a bit more popular than among girls my age, not far below the top 10 and rising, and with Amelia being #9 and other -lia names in close proximity, and that’s off-putting for me for a baby name. As for this custom in general, of naming children after parents, like using a parent’s first name as a child’s first name, it’s not really common in Poland. I remember when I was a child, Olek told me about his class teacher “You know, you would get along with my class teacher, she likes the name Jacek, just as you, her husband is Jacek, and her son is Jacek too!”. 😀 And we were both like WOW! That’s crazy! How does she tell them apart? She really must love that name. So, I’d say it’s not really normal here. If you want to name your child after yourself or your spouse, use your name as their middle name. OK, my Dad wanted to call me Anna, after my Mum, but that’s probably why he didn’t in the end, because it’s her name already and because it’s not normal. But since I am now pretty familiar with lots of weird naming customs all around the world and especially in the English-speaking countries, it doesn’t really impress me and I don’t mind it, if someone wants it, it’s not my business. I just think it’s a little bit boring because there are so many beautiful names out there. Why limiting ourselves to just a handful?! Because I can see that if a parent names their child after themself, and a lot of people start to follow that trend, their children will likely do the same, and then naturally people’s names might suddenly become really boring and repetitive. I even have a problem with this middle names tradition over here, that everyone needs to have their parent’s name as a middle almost obligatorily, even though I do love my middle name after my Mum, I feel like it doesn’t allow creativity, especially that you can have only one middle in Poland if you’re a Polish citizen, not counting confirmation or a few traditional/obsolete hyphenated exceptions. Also, I can’t ignore the baby namer in me shouting “NO!” because as a firm believer in that a name carries a personality, or at least a strong potential influence on a person with itself, I just can’t help but feel that if you call your child after yourself, he or she may feel kind of unconsciously forced to be like you! To fulfill your expectations, follow your footsteps, won’t feel their own sense of identity, or at least that their name doesn’t belong fully to them. I was named after a close family member and my Mum’s best friend at the same time (they both shared a name), and still felt that way, like they want me to be someone I’m not, so how must a person named after their parent feel? That’s how I see it, you don’t have to agree with me and I’m pretty sure many people wouldn’t. So if someone would ask me for an advice regarding this, I’d say yes, you can, but if your name is easily nicknamed, try to find a different nickname for him, even if it’s just one letter or syllable more/less or a slightly altered spelling or let him have a nickname unrelated to the nickname that he likes and can go by daily, you’ll have to try to show your child that you embrace who he comes to be, that you accept him as he is and you’ll have to really stress that in his upbringing and make sure his personality develops harmoniously. I feel though like there really is a risk of some kind of disharmony between your own individuality and the way your family influences you. On a little different note, it’s just a little thought and it doesn’t mean that I have a problem with people naming their kids after themselves or am prejudiced but in a way it kinda feels a bit selfish to me. ‘Cause generally if we name our children after someone, we admire that person, or want to honour them because of something. So it feels slightly as if someone had a bit too large an ego. 😀

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

Do you have any Easter traditions?

My answer:

We do have some, but they’re nothing very special, just common things in Poland or at least in our area, don’t know much how about other countries, but I guess pretty many of them are rather exclusive to our country or Slavic regions. One of them is the Easter basket, but it’s not the kind of Easter basket people have in the US, or at least so I guess. On Holy Saturday we prepare the Easter basket with bread, salt, eggs, easter eggs, pieces of cakes, and some other basic and not so basic food we’ll be eating on Easter, we decorate it and go to the church with it to be blessed. Usually children do it, as they really like it. You don’t put all the food you’re having on Easter to the basket, although some people do so, to show off, it’s just a symbol. We are quite a religious country, so Christian celebrations occupy quite an important place in our Easter traditions, but actually, I think it’s rather logical because Easter is a Christian holiday after all. So early in the Easter morning people are going for the resurrection mass. Not all people do it, some go late in the evening, or actually at night, for Holy Saturday celebrations linked with the resurrection, so do we, we’re too lazy to jump from the beds at dawn. 😀 And some people go later during Easter for a less festive mass.

And then of course we have the Easter breakfast. Although my family is pretty large, we’ve always eaten Easter breakfasts at home, just my parents and siblings and me, and Misha of course. Honestly, as for food, I much prefer Christmas food, I guess there are more Christmas traditions related to food than it’s on Easter. I guess most people have żurek soup for Easter, usually with an egg and white sausage. Overall, I’m not a big fan of żurek, I wouldn’t eat it at a restaurant or anything like this, but my Mum’s is very yummy. Also, most people have the cake called Easter bab(k)a, made in many different ways depending on the region and other things. Also people tend to have eggs made in different ways or different dishes with eggs. My Mum always makes a salad or a few, and our family loves pierogi to pieces. Generally there aren’t any traditional pierogi for Easter, only for Christmas. But we love them so much, especially my brother, that a few years ago Mum finally came up with the idea she’ll make Easter pierogi, with white sausage – which people associate with Easter here – and cabbage. They’re absolutely delicious, although still, Christmas pierogi are better. 😀 Lots of people make a cake called mazurek, it can be made in many different ways, flavours, with different ingredients, but we’ve never had it and actually I’ve even never eaten it myself. What my Mum does every Easter is a yeast cake called drożdżówka, with different fruit in it, this year we’re having apples.

Another tradition, which is now held only by Zofijka at our home, is decorating Easter eggs. She’s so very good at it. There are many different regional ways people do it, so it’s actually like art for some people, but Zofijka does it in just her own way. I’ve also heard about people playing some games with Easter eggs. People often have the Easter lamb to decorate the table, it’s often made of butter, sugar, cake with icing… but no one eats it actually. 😀

And then of course there are presents, which I guess don’t differ that much from anywhere in the world where Easter is celebrated. We also have a bunny, or a lamb, which as children believe leaves them presents. Many families do so that before you get your present, you need to find it, and they often hide the presents all around the backyard, but I guess now it isn’t so popular as for example when my Mum was a kid. Many people tend to think Easter presents must be more humble, simply and logically, because bunny won’t be able to carry as much as Santa Claus, but because children don’t like it and terrorise their parents, I don’t think many people care about poor bunny’s muscles. So that’s about the Easter Sunday, usually when we have any bigger holidays, people tend to eat a lot and very often meet with the ffamily. We visit my grandparents on Mum’s side and my gramma on Dad’s side, the rest of the family often comes over then too.

Easter Monday is rather funny, although a bit annoying for some as well, ’cause people soak each other. We call Easter Monday śmigus-dyngus. People are going around with bottles of water or other things you can have water in and just pour it over each other, some more gentle people will just sprinkle you, but that’s not a rule. You can have a nice start of the day being drowned in your ow bed lol. No I’m joking o f course, but people really like this day and take advantage of it as much as possible. So it’s better not to go out on the streets, ’cause lots of people are overexcited and take the symbolic holiday too seriously. 😀 But if you know how to have fun, it’s fun. It’s one of Zofijka’s favourite holidays.

And I guess that’s all I could say about our family’s Easter traditions and Polish traditions in general.

How about your traditions? Do you do something special at home on Easter time? Is there something you do in your country that not many people abroad do? 🙂