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Barbara Rolek

March 8 is Women's Day in Poland

By March 8, 2009

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Valentine's Day (Walentynki) has been observed in Poland since the collapse of the Eastern European Bloc and the opening of Poland's borders. Poles were quick to adopt Valentine's Day and nowadays it's as popular in Poland as anywhere else.

But a holdover from Soviet Union rule -- Dzien Kobiet or Women's Day -- also is celebrated on March 8.

The holiday was created in 1948, in part, to replace the Roman Catholic feast day of Blessed Wincenty Kadlubek, a 12th-century monk, but also to glorify the ideals of women as hard-working contributors to the economy -- sort of a women's equality day. Although initially this feast was enforced by the government, it became accepted and part of Polish culture. And, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is still celebrated.

While Valentine's Day is more privately celebrated between lovers in Poland, Women's Day is celebrated more as a national holiday for all women, regardless of age. They receive special attention, usually flowers, sweets and small gifts, not only privately, but at work and schools. The Western trend of giving greeting cards is creeping into this holiday.

Women's Day is now an official holiday in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and other Eastern European countries.

Mother's Day -- Dzien Matki -- also is celebrated in Poland but on May 26. There is no Men's Day in Poland, although Father's Day is celebrated by a few on June 23. Females make out like bandits! Serve up something fast and easy, or sweet and decadent for the women in your life:

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