I am combining these two topics because last night I experienced them both together! Where we Americans take pride in roasting marshmallows, Poles take pride in roasting sausage over a fire. They eat more grilled sausage than hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks, or especially marshmallows (since those are pretty hard to find here) combined. Playing in an outdoor soccer game? You’ll probably have a grilled sausage afterwards. Going over to a friend’s house for a bonfire? You will be roasting sausages all night. So, last night was our brother’s Name Day, so he through a bonfire, where we ate sausages and drank beer all night!
But, wait, what is a Name Day? Well, Polish people are only allowed to name their children from a specific list of names, and so everyday on the calendar celebrates a different name. Think of it like a birthday, but you don’t have to think about getting older, where you throw a big party and people bring you presents. Some Name Days have specific traditions, for example, Sylvester is on New Year’s Eve, so instead of posters saying NYE Party!!! They say Sylvester!!! And for Andrzej’s name day you pour hot wax through a skeleton key-hole into a pot of cold water, and then shine a flashlight on your wax creation and use the shadow to predict your future.
Older men and women have all of their friends over to sit around a large table together and have dinner and talk all night, while also taking shots of vodka of course!