Październik | October in Poland

17 Feb 2024

The month of Październik takes its name from the word paździerze best translated into English as 'shives', the dry stalks that are released during the processing of fibrous plants like flax and hemp.

Heading towards the end of the harvest season, Październik was a time when non-food-based plant materials would be used to produce fabrics for clothing and other domestic items. For this reason, big piles of 'paździerze' around the community were quite commonplace. In Polish slang, Paździerz means something ugly, uninteresting or of poor quality.

For example:

To wideo to paździerz!
This video is rubbish!

Similar to Polish agrarian practices, this photograph shows a this Russian peasant breaking flax, with bundles of paździerz at her feet.

So what exactly goes down in Poland during Październik? In terms of culture and yearly events, Październik is not a particularly happening month. One might say that Październik is a little bit 'paździerz' as well! As for seasonal changes, It should be noted that Październik is the first full month of autumn, and it may look good now, but it's set to become even more stunning in Listopad (ENG: November).

Due to the popularity of beer and historic influences from the west, Octoberfest is celebrated in Poland.

While it may be Germanic in Origin, the celebration of Oktoberfest has become quite commonplace in Poland. The stereotypes around wódka (ENG: vodka) and an unhealthy dependence on hard spirits has prevailed. However, the truth couldn't be more different. In the 21st century, figures have shown that beer is a significantly more popular beverage, and this is the legacy of close to 1,000 years of Polish brewing traditions. As for Oktoberfest, the notably Bavarian format of this harvest festival is being reinterpreted by brewers such as Brovarnia in Gdańsk, who have started to do things with a discernably Polish look.

At the tail end of Październik is a tradition more associated with the United States than anywhere else. That being said, Halloween has become more and more popular with Polish children and it's easy to understand the appeal. It's important to note, however, that the American format of this tradition is steeped in the traditions of European pagan ancestor worship. It varies in different regions across the continent, however, in Poland, this was known as Dziady (ENG: Forefathers) and there are even more traditions of similar origins taking place in Listopad.

Check out other months in the Polish Calendar Year!

Styczeń (January)
Luty (February)
Marzec (March)
Kwiecień (April)
Maj (May)
Czerwiec (June)
Lipiec (July)
Sierpień (August)
Wrzesień (September)
Październik (October)
Listopad (November)
Grudzień (December)


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