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Poland during celebrations

How to Polish people celebrate Christmas, Carnival, and Easter

There are many traditions of Christmas and Easter in Poland but just a few around Carnival.

The greatest number of Christmas traditions concern Christmas Eve. According to tradition, on the table should be twelve dishes, where the only kind of meat is fish. Everyone around the table should try all of the dishes. The most typical dish is carp which can be served in various versions, usually fried. Other traditional dishes are beetroot soup with ravioli, herring in sour cream, poppy seed cake or sauerkraut with mushrooms. Typically one place setting should be left free for an unexpected guest which symbolizes every hungry or alone person who spends Christmas without family or suffers from hunger. Before eating everyone divides the wafer and wishes others the best. After Christmas Eve dinner, houses are usually visited by carol singers. Then people go to the church for Midnight Mass. Children look forward to the next morning when everyone receives presents.

Carnival in Poland is rather calm in comparison to some countries. One of the traditions during that period is Fat Thursday which is celebrated on Thursday before Lent. On that day people eat a large number of sweets mostly jam doughnuts or angel wings (faworki in Polish) which are dry, crispy cakes in the form of a bow served with powdered sugar.

On the Sunday before Easter, Palm Sunday is celebrated, this is when people prepare Easter palms and bring them to the church to be blessed during the mass. In the morning of the Holy Saturday, people go to the church with small baskets filled with small portions of food such as eggs, cakes, salt, bread or sausages which are blessed by a priest and eaten later during the Easter morning. Easter eggs are decorated by painting, drawing or scratching. Easter Monday is also known as Wet Monday. During that day especially young people or kids have a lot of fun pouring over each other with water.

Short bio of the volunteer:

My name is Magda. I come from Poland and I am a volunteer in the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth, and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing to a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.