Brother-in-law’s name day, by Sabina

Description of traditional festival or event in your country – competition entry


The pride of the Polish nation is its veritable plethora of numerous festivals, events and occasions for celebrating. But above all, we really adore name day – one day of the year devoted to your saint patron. Some Poles are so crazy about it that they celebrate name days of each family member, even their mother- in –law (although, having a mother-in-law is rather a reason to mourning, not to celebrating). The most spectacular , significant and popular with Polish society is brother’s –in-law name day.

Imieniny szwagra – HISTORICAL ORIGINS

This event is steeped in centuries of tradition. In old times forming close family bonds was first priority. Celebrating a name day of someone related by marriage was a transparent sign of friendship and strengthened relationship between two families.

Imieniny szwagra- CELEBRATING TODAY

There are some basic rules of celebrating which haven’t changed for ages. First of all, people always meet in brother-in-law’s flat, never in a public place. All guests ought to bring presents. Choosing the most appropriate one is a matter of big delicacy . The best are: a bottle of vodka and grey socks. The celebration itself is rather not complicated. The whole family and friends sit around a table all evening, guzzling.

After few hours (and bottles of vodka) people start singing our evergreen folk songs, like ‘One hundred years’ or ‘All little fish sleep in the lake’. It’s a very confusing moment because after such mind-boggling amount of alcohol you can hardly recognise lyrics and melody.

Another highlight of the evening is a discussion. If you don’t want to be named a pretentious , snobbish dick, rather not talk about your attitude to James Joyce’s literature or the latest Damien Hirst exhibition. There is constant stock of subjects appearing every year: bad condition of Polish sport, appalling condition of Polish politics and terrible condition of Polish healthcare. There is always someone with exactly the opposite views than you represent so heated arguments and sometimes even fights are inevitable.


A name day is an unforgettable experience for foreign visitors.

Taking part in this breathtaking event, they have a unique opportunity to observe traditional lifestyle in action.