It’s been a busy week, a beautiful week.
I am currently recovering from the my girlfriend, Kasia’s, wedding weekend. Both the bride and groom have polish roots and decided to hold their wedding at St. Mary’s church in Kraków, a 14th century church in the heart of the city. The wedding was followed by horse drawn carriage rides around the main square and a reception at Hotel Stary, one of Europe’s most beautiful hotels.
You see, polish weddings are exceptional in term of necessary recovery time, because it’s traditional to have a bottle of vodka at each table at all times. You eat a lot, drink a lot and be very merry until the sun comes up. Then you rest and get ready to do it all over again 12 hours later in a fun polish tradition called poprawiny.
The word “poprawiny” comes from the verb “poprawić”, which means to correct, improve, fix. It’s essentially an after-party the next day to eat more, drink more and talk about the wedding. It was held in an old-style inn, with an all wood interior and taxidermy animals along with walls. Typically, the point is to eat any leftover food, and drink any leftover vodka, but I highly doubt we left any bottle untouched the night before. Each guest was fed to the brim with grilled oscypek, a smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk from the Tatra Mountains, żurek, a traditional sausage and egg soup, beets, cabbage, dumplings, an entire platter of assorted meats, followed by szarlotka, an apple cake, for dessert. If that sounds like a lot of food, it is, but that’s just what Polish people call a party. No one goes hungry at a Polish event, that’s for sure.
The couple did a lovely job incorporating their polish heritage into their marriage, from their traditional highlander outfits to the Krakowian folk dancers at their poprawiny. Kasia and her husband, Matthew, reminded me how proud I am of my roots, as well, and it was an incredible experience to share a part of Poland with the immense number of guests who flew in from the States for the wedding.
When thinking of first generation Americans, most people don’t picture someone like Kasia, the bride, or myself. Yet, aside from my parents and my brother, my entire family still lives in Poland. My parents emigrated to the States about 25 years ago, when Poland was still a communist country. I’m very fortunate to have such a rich culture in my life, another language to call my mother tongue and a home away from home in a city that dates back to the 7th century, where I am currently settling in for the next few weeks, drinking tea and resting after a fabulous polish wedding.
Congratulations Kasia and Matthew! “Be truly glad; there is wonderful joy ahead.”