The Polish Center of Discovery and Learning at Elms College
The Polish Center of Discovery and Learning is an ethnographic museum which promotes and celebrates the many contributions of the Polish people to our nation.
On February 20, we celebrate National Love Your Pet Day, a day to embrace one special trait that makes us human: our love of our pets! According to the Humane Society of the United State, there are 86.4 million cats and 78.2 million dogs in homes around the US. In Poland, it’s estimated there are 6.7 million dogs and 9.8 million cats. It only makes sense to commemorate something that’s so important to so many people.
Love your pet today -- Kochaj swojego zwierzaka już dziś
February 19 is the birthday of Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik 1473-1543), a Polish astronomer, responsible for one of the greatest revolutions in the history of astronomy. He was the first modern European scientist to propose that Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun, or the Heliocentric Theory of the universe. A true Renaissance man, he was not only a genial astronomer, but also a valued medic, a cartographer, visionary economist and a literary translator.
With his final work in 1543, he shifted the center of the universe from the Earth to the Sun, deeply impacting the very way in which people thought. As a result, many scientific, philosophical and humanistic questions were raised in what came to be known as the Copernican Revolution.
College students of Polish descent can apply for a scholarship from the Polish Junior League of Massachusetts. In addition to being of Polish descent, students must have permanent residence in the Massachusetts counties of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden or Hampshire and be a sophomore (36 credits minimum), Apply today.
Here at the Polish Center, we wanted to take a moment to send our sincere appreciation your way for all that you do to preserve Polish heritage, culture and history. You keep our community going spreading awareness, education and inspiration. We could not do our work without you, so today we’re sending thanks and wishes for a great day.
Happy Valentine’s Day - - - Szczęśliwych walentynek
Join our friends at the Lupa Zoo at their annual winter event. The Zoo, in Ludlow, MA, was started by Henry Lupa after he immigrated to the US from Poland. It is a 20-acre conservation and education institution demonstrating the value, beauty and interdependence of all living things.
Looking for a wild gift for your Valentine this year? Consider sponsoring the care of an animal. The Sponsorship of the Animal Exhibit Program is a satisfying and creative way of contributing to a long-lasting investment in conservation, education and animal welfare. Why not get a little wild for your Valentine? https://www.lupazoo.org/…/2020-ANIMAL-SPONSORSHIP-FORM-002.
February 9 is National Pizza Day but it’s cousin in Poland is the Zapiekanka
A zapiekanka (Polish pronunciation: zapʲɛˈkaŋka) is an open-face sandwich made of half of a baguette or other long roll of bread, topped with sautéed white mushrooms, cheese and sometimes other ingredients, and toasted until the cheese melts. Served hot with ketchup, it is a popular street food in Poland. With its origin dating back to the 1970s, the zapiekanka is associated with the austere times of Poland's Communist regime, but it has enjoyed renewed demand in the 21st century, which has also brought a wider range of varieties and quality.
Here's the fascinating story of how a Polish couple took actions to record Polish Folk Music before it became lost forever.
In the 1950s, 303 researchers travelled through Poland and gathered over 46,000 recordings of folk music. It was one of the largest campaigns of its kind in Poland.
Today, February 4th, is the 274th birthday of the most famous Polish figure in American history, Tadeusz Kościuszko (Thaddeus Kosciuszko).
Kościuszko designed the defenses of the West Point garrison from 1778–1780 during the height of the Revolutionary War when George Washington considered West Point to be the most important military post in America. A close friend of Thomas Jefferson, Kosciuszko named him as executor of his will directing that his military pay from the Revolutionary War be used to buy the freedom of American slaves and pay for their education.
On this Holocaust Remembrance Day – the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – we remember the millions who perished and suffered during the Second World War. We’ll never forget.
Saturday Polish School in Indian Orchard, MA is hosting "Love in Zakopane", their annual dinner dance. Come enjoy the food, music and fun.
Some countries have a single Grandparents' Day to celebrate both grandfathers and grandmothers, but Poland has two separate holidays. Grandmother's Day in Poland is celebrated on January 21, and Grandfather's Day (Dzień Dziadka) is observed a day later, on January 22.
Poland's Grandmother's Day was initiated by the Woman and Life magazine in 1965. As the holiday grew in popularity, the idea of celebrating Grandfather's Day as well emerged. It is unclear when Grandfather's Day was celebrated for the first time. It has probably been introduced in the 1980s.
Grandfather's Day is an unofficial secular holiday celebrated throughout Poland. On this day, children and adults express their appreciation and gratitude to their grandfathers by giving them small presents, often handmade.
Sometimes kindergartens and schools organize events to honor grandfathers, but other than that the holiday is typically a family event. Families enjoy small, private gatherings on the day. It is a perfect occasion to show your love and devotion to grandparents.
January 21 is Grandmother's Day (Dzień Babci) in Poland. It was created by the Kobieta i Życie (Woman and Life) magazine in 1964.
The idea of celebrating Grandmother's Day first appeared in the Woman and Life weekly magazine in 1964. A year later, the Express Poznański (Poznań Express) newspaper began to popularize the new holiday. In 1966, Express Wieczorny (Evening Express) joined. Grandmother's Day has been celebrated every year since then.
Grandmother's Day does not have any official status, but it is widely celebrated across the country. Children and adults congratulate their grandmothers and give them small presents, greeting cards, flowers to show their gratitude and appreciation. The gifts are often handmade. Schools and kindergartens sometimes organize events to celebrate the holiday.
To learn more about Poland’s infamous Winged Hussars watch “The Day of the Siege” on Amazon Prime. One of the most important battles in the history of the world recounting the Ottoman Turks invasion and siege of Vienna, the gateway to the West, on September 11, 1683. Poland’s King, Jan III Sobieski led the Winged Hussars into battle (40,000 calvary and infantry) against 300,000 Ottoman Turks. The victorious battle marked the historic end of the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Europe and is an important part of Poland’s history. Stop by the Polish Center to see a Hussar suit of armor and weapons and learn more about these courageous warriors.
In the summer of 1683, 300,000 warriors of the Ottoman Empire began the siege of Vienna. The fall of the city would have opened the way to conquer Europe. On September 11. was the main battle between the Polish cavalry and the Turks.
PNA Lodge 525 is hosting a Winter Ball. Come enjoy good food, music and friends.
Apples are a mainstay in the Polish diet. Did you know that Poland is the 4th largest producer of apples in the world? For those who grew up with a Polish grandmother, you probably have fond memories of eating lots of delicious foods made with fruit.
Poles love their fruit and produce tonnes of them. When the season comes, we devour strawberries and raspberries with reckless abandon; when it comes to blackcurrants and blueberries we are among the biggest exporters in the world; and in the fall we make jars upon jars of plum preserves. Yet on the...
The MS Pilsudski, a Polish ocean liner launched in 1935, was a glamorous ship which made 10 crossings each year until she went under British command at the outbreak of WWII in 1939. She was converted into a military transport craft, which called at the English Port of Newcastle, from where she made her last voyage on November 25, 1939. It went down a few hours later, most probably on a mine field, 29 nm SE off Cape Flamborough. (Nearly all the crew was rescued with only one fatality.) And even though she was not a colossal ship, she was the pride of the Polish fleet.
MS PILSUDSKI docks in New York - 1938... On November 26 1939, over seventy years have passed sinc...
Epiphany, on January 6 or Twelfth Night, has a long tradition in Poland. The custom of blessing gold and frankincense appeared in Poland at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, with the latter ingredient having often been replaced with burnt resin. In addition, people would protect their households against evil powers with smoke. Today, it is frankincense and myrrh that religious Poles bring to churches for blessing, i.e. gifts that the kings presented to the baby Jesus according to the gospel.
Since the 18th century, it has been common in Poland to take a small box containing chalk, a gold ring, incense and a piece of amber, in memory of the gifts of the Magi, to church to be blessed. Once at home, they inscribe the date and "K+M+B+" with the blessed chalk above every door in the house to protect against illness and misfortune for those within.
For 2020, it would look like "20+K+M+B+ 20." Contrary to a popular belief, the letters do not stand for the Kings’ names (Caspar is Kacper in Polish) but are derived from the Latin abbreviation “C+M+B”, which means Christus Mansionem Benedicat (“May Christ bless this house”).
The Museum has re-opened and will resume with normal business hours. Our special Polish Christmas Nativity Exhibit will be on display until Friday, January 10.
Best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy New Year
"Bóg Się Rodzi" (God is Born) by the Polish Folk Group Mazowsze.
Merry Christmas! Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia!
Hope you're looking forward to tasting many of these dishes on Christmas Eve.
The 12 Dishes at the Wigilia (Christmas Eve)
The tradition calls for twelve traditional courses to be served during the Polish Christmas Eve. This number is the symbol of the richness, twelve Apostles and represents the twelve months of the year. But in the past, dinner consisted of an odd number of dishes. The preparation of the traditional dishes takes a lot of time. Many restaurants and shops offer ready products, but Poles still prefer to cook traditional family recipes as they always taste better. Some specific dishes may differ from various regions, but many of them are universal.
12 courses represent 12 months.
All food should be placed on the table before the supper starts. The members of a household are not supposed to get up from the table through the whole supper, otherwise they will be restless, impatient and disorganized during the whole next year. Some people even tie their legs to the table leg with a rope to remain seated and not to be tempted to get up:)
Items that would normally be included in a traditional Wigilia menu include mushroom soup, boiled potatoes (kartofle), pickled herring (sledzie), fried fish, pierogi, beans and sauerkraut (groch i kapusta), a dried fruit compote, babka, oplatek, assorted pastries, nuts and candies.
Here is the list of the exemplary Christmas Eve Dishes
Pierogi - the most recognizable Polish food abroad. The Christmas version of those half-circular dumplings is stuffed with cabbage or sauerkraut and dried forest mushrooms such as ceps. Interesting regional varieties - most notably coming from the eastern territories - are sweet pierogi stuffed with smoked and dried plums or with poppy seeds.
2. Poppy seed roll (makowiec)
This tiny, black grain symbolizes prosperity and must be included in the Chirstmas menu. Poppy seed cakes are eaten by Poles year round, but the traditional Christmas poppy seed cake is a bit different – the layers of the dough should be thinner and the layers of the sweet poppy seed cream should be thicker. In some regions, a few other desserts with poppy seeds are made for Christmas Eve. "Makówki," a traditional poppy seed-based dessert, is a must in Silesia, as well as “makiełki," bread rolls soaked in milk or water, served with dried fruits and honey, and a dried fruits compote.
3. Christmas Eve red borscht with ceps raviolis (uszka)
Christmas Eve dinner often starts with a beetroot soup (red borscht) - probably the most popular soup for that day. The Christmas version varies from the common one. Christmas bortsch requires a sour base ("zakwas") which is to be made a few days in advance. It consists of raw beets, peeled and cut into slices, fermented, during four to five days, in pre-boiled and chilled water with or without garlic. It is then mixed, for example, with both a light broth made from dried wild mushrooms and a vegetable broth. This traditional Christmas borscht usually is served with tiny dumplings stuffed with a mix of soaked (and then nicely chopped) dried ceps and fried onion. These are called "uszka" meaning "little ears" in Polish. Borscht is traditionally served in the south of the country, particularly in the Podhale region, close to the touristic Tatra mountains. There "uszka" are replaced with large, white beans.
4. Cabbage rolls (gołąbki)
The cabbage roll is a type of comfort food eaten all year round. In daily cooking it is usually stuffed with meat, but it changes its face during Christmas. In those households where they are served on that special evening, the stuffing is vegetarian and contains cereals (buckwheat, pearl barley or rice) and dried forest mushrooms.
5. Old Polish piernik
Baking gingerbread in Poland is a tradition several hundred years old. Gingerbread from Toruń – the city of Nicolas Copernicus – was already known in the 17th century. Ancient Polish cuisine was full of exotic spices, inlcuding ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. The traditional Old Polish “piernik” which is still prepared in many homes requires a lot of time and attention. The dough consists of honey, lard, sugar, eggs, flour and a mixture of gingerbread spices. It must be made a good couple of weeks in advance to maturate and gain the very special gingerbread taste. Baking it a couple of days before Christmas Eve makes it ideal for consumption. It is then cut along and eaten with layers of traditional plum preserves ("powidła"). It remains fresh for a long time. Poles also bake a lot of small ginger cookies which also serve as Christmas tree decoration.
6. Christmas Eve mushroom soup
This soup which is also served very often at Christmas Eve dinner is made from dried forest mushrooms (the best ones are ceps). The flavor of dried forest mushrooms is part of the Polish culinary heritage. This delicious soup usually comes with square or thin noodles. Other traditional Christmas Eve soups are soft water fish soup (for example, carp), white bortsch, vegetarian Christmas Eve sour rye soup or old fashioned sweet almond soup.
7. Braised Sauerkraut
Polish Christmas Eve smells predominantly like sauerkraut. Sauerkraut has always existed in the Polish diet and is one of the most popular and recognizable food preparations. One can see the strong presence of sauerkraut in the Polish culinary culture during Christmas Eve. Nearly everybody braises sauerkraut as either filling for pierogi or as a side dish with the addition of dried forest mushrooms or tiny white beans. Some Poles also like it with soaked raisins.
Herrings are very popular in Poland at any time of year, and they are also served at Christmas Eve. Poles in Scandinavian and Baltic nations know how to prepare this healthy fish, and so Polish gastronomy has quite a range of recipes for herrings. The most popular preparations are classic herrings fillets ("matjes") in oil (the best ones are in healthy linen oil), or with cream, sour apples, chopped onions, usually served with the so-called root vegetable salad or potatoes.
Kutia is an ancient dessert with origins in Eastern European made exclusively for the Christmas Eve dinner. Today, it is still served in many households where families have some roots in the Eastern part of Old Poland. It is a mixture of cooked, unprocessed wheat grains, cooked poppy seeds, honey, dried or candied fruits soaked in a small amount of port or red wine and various nuts - usually almonds, sunflower grains or walnuts. In the past kutia not only had a culinary meaning but was connected to religious beliefs.
10. Dried fruit compote (kompot z suszu)
Poles love dried and smoked fruits and use them especially in Christmas dishes. Compote is a traditional and popular beverage served at the end of Christmas Eve. It is made from cooked dried and smoked fruits, typically plums, apples, pears, raisins and apricots. Its most appreciated purpose is to speed-up digestion.
11. Christmas Eve Carp
The tradition of carp farming in Poland is at least 700 hundred years old. However, it became an eminent part of Polish culinary traditions only after World War II. It is more popular than noble fish like sander, eel or pike. Today carp is the Christmas Eve must-have in many families. Poles developed species of carp (for example, karp zatorski) which are certified regional products of good quality. Christmas Eve carp is often accompanied by hot sauerkraut with dried mushrooms, a vegetable salad or potatoes. There are numerous local, ancient and interesting recipes, inlcuding carp in grey sauce, carp with dried mushrooms and cream or stuffed with parsley
12. Carp Jewish style
In the Lesser Poland region (Małopolska), many families continue the tradition of preparing "Jewish style" carp fish for Christmas Eve dinner. In the past, this was a traditional meal of the Ashkenazi Jews living in Central-Eastern Europe. Pieces of fish are cooked slowly in a fish stock. It is served in a natural jelly with onion, almonds, raisins and soft bread.
PVTA Bus # P21 to Chicopee Center CIty Hall. 0.4 mi walk from here. Walk up Springfield St, and take right on South St.
The Polish Center is a unique institution which seeks to safeguard historical objects representative of the material culture of the Polish people in America and abroad. It encourages individuals to learn from the experiences of one of the largest and most successful immigrant groups to come to America and share in their journey to become Americans.
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Many of us from the Polish Center Board came out tonite to support Joan Lupa, and the Lupa Zoo, at their Winter Fundraiser. Here's a video from Echo the band who played tonite. Great choice!
Tune in to my friend Joanne Weglarz Schochat's radio show at noon (Central Standard Time), this coming Monday, Wednesday or Friday for Polish Christmas Carols.
Broadcast online via http://radio.morton.edu click on the "play" arrow. (Use a PC or laptop; sorry, not accessible through your cell phone browser)
Tis the season! Hope you enjoy the show!
Hi was in albany since Friday just got back today - exhausted
General Pulaski, father of the American Calvery, who died fighting for American freedom in Savannah, GA. US and Poland have had strong ties for over 400 years starting in Jamestown.
Wow, that's a lot of potential sweaters walking there.
Ponder this as you have your morning cup of coffee.
Autumn in Poland and soon to arrive in Massachusetts.
The Linguistics lab at UMass Amherst is currently recruiting native speakers of French (any dialect) and Polish to participate in a paid experiment on constant variation. The full announcement and sign-up is posted at this link.
My Great Uncle, Michael Wszol and his wife, Helen Moskwa Wszol, each immigrated from Poland (1910), met, married and settled in Chicopee, Massachusetts.