Saint Andrew’s Eve - "Andrzejki"
One of the aims of the activities of Polish School in Southend-on-Sea is to organise venues and parties that familiarise children with the variety of Polish traditions that are important for Polish culture and festivals.
The party has been preceded by chats during lessons in all three age groups. The teachers had explained to children the origin of this feast as well as the history of old rites and the main idea of the Saint Andrew’s Eve ritual.
The ritual tradition has become the main attraction of the event. The children readily participated in specially prepared stalls displaying different traditional customs.
The most popular tradition among the many that we perform was pouring wax through the hole in the key. Pupils had experimented using their own imagination when they wanted to interpret their own “wax creations”. Other fascinating events and traditions have been prepared by children and parents.
One way to reinforce the School’s budget is by good management and another is by raffle ticket lotteries which we have prepared regularly. Parents brought prizes such as : books they had read, toys no longer needed, unwanted items and other goods and gifts they wanted to bring. In addition, they bought the raffle tickets. Each child has won something for his or her-self and the Polish School has earned some money that has certainly found a good purpose.
Also, catering and food for parties has been provided with the kind efforts of the parents. Tables have been filled with an impressive amount and variety of cakes, salads and other tasty snacks. The culinary creations of Polish mothers’ hands have reminded us of our Polish cuisine. We do not meet only to eat, however, this rich buffet was a terrific treat.
Saint Andrew’s Eve has also become a parade for colourful costumes. All the children have dressed up and we could admire the parade of princesses, butterflies, knights and other noble characters. Thanks to this, we have colourful and joyful souvenirs of our most important events on our photos.
It is worth mentioning about the very important function of this and other parties organised in the Polish School. These kinds of gatherings integrate our society and provide companionship. We especially value the links and bond between Poles and our English friends. We feel fulfilled when Polish and English families mix and are having fun together and also when English friends explore and try our cuisine, traditions and customs. Those are great social meetings that serve to start and sustain friendly relationships, not only between children, but also between parents. Our School and community are helping Poles to slowly blend into British Society and on the other hand, our English friends are getting to know our culture and are becoming an integral part of our Polish School in Southend-on-Sea.
Christmas - "Boże Narodzenie"
The Polish School in Southend-on-Sea was preparing for weeks to celebrate Christmas. Children at the theatre and dance classes were learning poems and carols that are part of the traditional nativity scenes. In addition, thanks to a joint effort of teachers, parents and children, a stage was prepared for this performance.
Two events were combined - a Christmas celebration and the school meeting of all involved. There was nothing missing from the event from what you would expect to find during this type of celebration if you found yourself in Poland. There was a colourful Christmas tree, sharing of the holy wafer, a sumptuous table of Polish foods, festive clothes, and singing Carols together. Santa Claus was eagerly awaited by the children and he appeared as expected. He gave every student a nice gift and even found something in his bag for the teachers to show that all their work is appreciated.
The main attraction for all gathered, both children and adults, was the nativity scene. The children played out the roles from the nativity scene. Everyone had a role, regardless of age and their level of Polish language skill. All this was against the background of a very carefully prepared and ingenious theatrical set design. There was a crib with a thatched roof and even the cradle had a little baby inside.
Although it was still a bit early for Christmas, we were able to enjoy that day. With the Christmas tree, white table cloths, Carols and the crib, they all created a special atmosphere.
There were many touching wishes by all on dividing the holy wafer, there was also much laughter and mutual goodwill by all.
Most important in the Polish School that day was the fantastic spirit of Christmas. Even if there was no carp on the table, or when a child forgot their line, or when Santa's beard had slipped, we all felt it was a unique joy – It was Christmas, it was Polish, traditional, sublime and solemn and just a special day.
© Copyright : Glen Dryhurst, 2007