In our headquarter city of Grand Rapids, MI there is a strong and thriving Polish community. We even celebrate Pulaski Days where the Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski is celebrated, along with Polish heritage in general.
With all the celebration there is also a noticeable absence of some of their cultural traditions, such as their traditional faith. So I am going to do my best, to share some of those cultural traditions and history in this article.
Native Slavic Paganism in Poland had tried several times to revive since its end began when Mieszko I was baptized in 966 AD. This was not the end of the faith though, the faithful clung to their traditional beliefs causing Mieszko II to flee Poland in 1031 AD leading to a revolt against Christianity and overlords in Poland in 1038 AD. It was not until the 15th century that the ritualistic observance of the traditional faith of Poland was eradicated. However, the traditions remained.
The first attempt to revive the Native Slavic faith was in 1818, when the book “About Slavic Faith before Christianity” by Zorian Dołęga-Chodakowski was published. In the 1930’s were the first official attempts to revive the Native Slavic faith, but the coming of World War II put an end to those attempts, and no further attempts are of my knowledge until the Native Polish Church “Rodzimy Kościół Polski” was officially registered with the Polish Ministry of the Interior’s registry of denominations and churches in March of 1995. In this article, we are going to focus mostly on The Native Polish Church, but we will also dig into some of the aspects of West Slavic Paganism.
Disclaimer: As I do not speak Polish, there may be errors in the translations I have made. I have done my best to provide proper translations in proper context and will update this article with more information and better contextual translations when possible.
Native Polish Church
The Native Polish Church (Rodzimy Kościół Polski) is a henotheistic path (denomination) of West Slavic Paganism combined with pantheism. They believe in an absolute and supreme God named Świętowit(Svetovid), but respect that other deities, though named differently, are just another name for that supreme deity. However it is maintained that the real name of the absolute supreme God will always remain outside of the human ability to perceive.
They also revere other Gods and Goddesses but view them as minor subordinates to Świętowit or incarnations of.
Holidays and Celebrations
Szczodre Gody (Generous Festivities) –
Winter solstice – December 21-22
Putting a tree of life at home, a ritual feast
Jare Święto (Spring Festival) –
Spring equinox – March 21
Burning a sacred fire, drowning mammon, decorating eggs
Noc Kupały (Night of Baths) –
Summer solstice – June 21-22
Burning a sacred fire, walking on fire, ritual baths
Święto Plonów (Harvest Festival) –
Blessing of crops, ritual feast
Other special occasions
Powitanie Rodzanic (Welcoming of the parents) –
A rite related to birth
Postrzyżyny (First haircut) –
A rite associated with the transition of a boy from childhood to adolescence
A rite related to the transition of a girl from childhood into adolescence
Swaćba (Wedding) –
Pochówek / stypa (Burial / Wake) –
A burial and a celebration of life