4 Ways to Celebrate Polish American Heritage Month

Cześć! (“cheh-sh-ch.”) Hello! Among the many reasons to love this month, October is Polish American Heritage Month. I am a proud Polish-American woman, who married a Polish-American man and we filled our house with Polish-American babies. I’d love to share with you some ideas for how you can celebrate our heritage this month!

1. Try some Polish food!

My family in Poland, many years ago, enjoying blueberry pierogi.

Some of my favorite kid-friendly foods (with links to their recipes) are:

  • Pierogi
    These half-circle pockets of dough are filled with potato, cheese, or fruit. You can make them yourself or buy them frozen. Kids love them!
  • Kielbasa
    You can find it in most grocery stories, but our favorite is either Kielbasa Joe’s in Wyandotte or Polanka Market in Livonia.
  • Golabki
    Pronounced “goh-wom-kee.” More commonly known as stuffed cabbage, golabki are fairly simple to make.
  • Potato pancakes
    These are exactly like they sound, and I love everything about them.
  • Kluski or Kopytka
    You can use all kinds of different toppings on these potato dumplings (like gnocci, but shaped differently). My kids like them with parmesan cheese, and my mom tops hers with sauteed onions. 

If your kids are adventurous eaters, try fixing pickle soup or barszcz. Traditionally, we would have barszcz (beet soup) on Easter Sunday, in a bowl filled with kielbasa, hard-boiled eggs, cubed ham, and crusty bread. We would eat pickle soup whenever we had a taste for it. 

When I need a taste of my mom’s home cooked food, I usually visit Sabina’s Polish Restaurant in Melvindale. The combination plate reminds me of family get-togethers and special occasions. I also recommend ordering a bag of Krowka from Amazon—these are little milk toffee sweets that we used to keep in a glass candy jar in the living room. 

2. Get to know some famous Polish Americans.

Visit this list of famous Polish Americans to learn more about our community’s contributions to the United States. I mean…Kristin Bell is a Polish-American, and she is the most popular person around this mama’s house (thanks to her vocal talents in the Frozen movies!). Also: Steve Carell, Jon Bon Jovi, Scarlett Johansson, and John Krasinski.

3. Learn some helpful words and phrases.

The Polish side of my family, singing Sto Lat to Uncle Eddie. I am on the far right in all pink!

Learning some of the language and pronunciations can be fun…and I don’t just mean the swear words (though those can be helpful, too). The Polish version of the Happy Birthday song is quick and easy. I love that it actually means “May you live 100 years!” Here is a great video with the song, lyrics, and translation.

4. Try some Polish drinks.

You can find traditional mead at most fine wine and liquor stores. And, of course, there is nothing quite like Polish vodka to help you forget what a roller coaster this year has been. Pour yourself a drink, and say “Na Zdrowie! (Nah zdrov-e-yay), which is how we say “Cheers!”

To all my fellow Polish Americans, how are you celebrating your heritage this month? Drop a comment below!

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Tina Sreniawski
Tina is a Downriver Mom! She has a hard working husband, Lou, and four energetic children under age 7. She is on a leave of absence from her teaching job and is soaking up her SAHM time. When she’s not changing diapers, homework helping, meal prepping, or folding laundry, she enjoys running, playing volleyball, and most of all, reading. Tina believes that Moms are superheroes, and that love can make anything possible.


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