Styczeń | January in Poland

15 Feb 2024

The etymology of Styczeń, the first month of the Polish calendar year, has numerous theories attributed to it. The most supported of these is that from the verb stykać się (ENG: to contact) – in other words, when the old year comes into contact with the new.

There are other proposals, however, that have been entertained by Polish linguists. One such thought is that it refers to tyki, the wooden stakes that are used in food cultivation to grow vegetables and fruits more efficiently. Another theory suggests that it comes from tyka, a type of canvas that was produced in Central and Eastern Europe during the colder months, and used to make bags. The latter two theories here tie into a common theme with Polish months names - key points of the harvest season, and how seasonal changes affect them.
Three Kings Day in the old town of Warsaw. Photo by Krzysztof Jaszczak.
As the calendar year begins, the holiday season or Swięty, is coming to an end. Things wrap up on January 6th with the Epiphany, known in Poland as Dzień Trzech Króli (ENG: Three Kings' Day). Being as devoutly religious as the country is, you can expect to find many colourful parades in each and every major centre. Equally (if not, more) colourful is the annual Kraków Christmas Cribs Competition or Szopki Krakowskie, when locals from all over Małopolskie converge on the city to show off their over-the-top nativity church models.
Experience the extravagant nativity scenes on Kraków Christmas Cribs Competition, or Szopki Krakowskie.

Climate change has played havoc with the normal weather patterns, but you can still find an endless dump of snow in the southern mountain regions, most notably around Zakopane in the Tatras. In other words, Styczeń is a great time to hop on your skis and head up the slopes!
Sunrise over the stunning Tatra Mountain Ranges in Poland's south.

Arguably the most important event of the month is The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (PL: Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy), which has been raising money for the Polish Health Care system since 1993, and culminates in a firework show and nationally-televised concert on the second Sunday of January each year.

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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