October is Polish-American Heritage Month! The Polish American Center describes this event as “a national celebration of Polish history, culture and pride.” Even if you don’t have any Polish ancestry, it’s a great time to learn more about Polish history and culture. Last year What’s Past is Prologue hosted a month-long Polish History and Culture Challenge – all contributions can be found in this post. I’m not quite as organized this year, but I want to offer some tips on celebrating your Polish heritage with the Top Ways to Celebrate Polish-American Heritage Month:
If you have Polish Ancestry…
- Locate an immigrant ancestor’s place of origin ~ Ancestry magazine has a great guide to help here.
- Find a church record for one of your ancestors ~ here are some translation aids to help once you find it.
- Find and translate the Słownik Geograficzny entry for your ancestor’s hometown ~ here’s a guide to assist.
- Learn the origin and meaning of one of your Polish surnames ~ read my interview with author Fred Hoffman, and then run out to buy his books on Polish surnames!
- Join a Polish genealogical society ~ such as the Polish Genealogical Society of America.
And even if you’re not Polish…
- Read a book by a Polish author ~ Many are available in English translations. Are you a science fiction fan? Try Stanisław Lem. Enjoy non-fiction? Try Ryszard Kapuściński. In the mood for sweeping romantic historical epics? Definitely try Henryk Sienkiewicz.
- Learn about an event in Polish history ~ Several important anniversaries occurred or will occur in 2009, such as the 230th anniversary of the death of General Casimir Pulaski (father of the American Cavalry) and the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Poland and the outbreak of World War II.
- Watch a Polish movie ~ Try Three Colours (Polish: Trzy kolory), the collective title of the trilogy directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski, Agnieszka Holland’s Europa, Europa, or Katyń, directed by Andrzej Wajda.
- Make a recipe for some Polish food ~ who wouldn’t want some pierogi? Did you hear about the Polish nun who has become a best-selling cookbook author?
- Learn how to polka! ~ Sheri gave us a good intro to the polka for my Polish History and Culture Challenge!
Kiss Us, We’re Polish (and Proud…)!
As always, I encourage my readers to also check out some great blogs of my fellow Polish-American genea-bloggers:
Steve’s Genealogy Blog ~ read about Steve’s visit to Poland, or see samples of expert translation of vital records!
Creative Gene ~ Jasia writes about “genealogy and more” including her Polish heritage, Detroit Polonia, and Polish crafts!
Al’s Polish-American Genealogy Research ~ Al’s blog gives you exactly what’s in the title of his blog – solid genealogy research that serves as an example to us all!
If you have a blog about Polish genealogy, history, heritage, or culture, tell us about it in the comments!
(Polish Pride image from the Polish Heritage Gift Shop – buy your favorite Pole an expression of pride today!)