Polish Heritage Society

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With the holiday season right around the corner, the next three meetings of the Polish Heritage Society (PHS) will highlight Christmas and New Year traditions. The gatherings are open to anyone interested in learning about, preserving, and perpetuating the culture that was passed on from our Polish ancestors. They are held at the Suffield Ambulance Center at 10 a.m.

The session will be on Thursday, November 7, instead of the standard first Wednesday. It will be conducted by Marek Czarnecki, an artist, restorer and community scholar for Connecticut’s Polish American Community. He will be talking about the art of “szopka,” that is nativity scenes. These fanciful castles made of colored foil and cardboard attract hundreds of visitors to an annual statewide competition sponsored by the Polish Cultural Club, this year on November 24. The Polish Center of Discovery and Learning in Chicopee, Mass., also has several examples of these elaborate creations on display year-round.

On December 4, Susan Urban will present a program about Polish Christmas and New Year customs. Ms. Urban, who is an artist and teacher from W. Springfield, Mass., has been a guest of the PHS on two previous occasions. Her demonstrations of the folk arts of paper cutting (wycinanki) and Easter egg dying (pisanki) were well-attended. Just in time for gift-giving season, Susan will bring some of her products to sell.

On Januay 8, the PHS will welcome two Felician Sisters, from Enfield, to lead the ever-popular, annual Polish Christmas carols, known as kolendy. These traditional songs were memorized by the older members of the PHS, who learned them as children during the holiday season. The rest of the attendees rely on the printed lyrics. We hope to see you at one, or all, of these meetings! 

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