logo en full

Research

According to the 2013 survey conducted by the Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS), as many as 72 per cent of Poles opposes commercialization of holidays. Despite this opposition, many people celebrate various holidays in a way dictated by pop culture. Doctor Karol Jachymek, cultural expert from SWPS University explains what shapes our celebrations and rituals.

Commercial Aspect of Holidays

Dziady (meaning Forefathers - an ancient Slavic holiday commemorating the dead) or Halloween? Opening of Christmas presents on Christmas Eve or on Christmas morning? Kupala Night (a Slavic summer solstice holiday) or Valentine’s Day? Increasingly, foreign traditions are making their way into the Polish culture and the holiday spirit is more often than not created by the commercial rather than spiritual factors.

One of these holidays is Halloween and it has been slowly encroaching onto the Polish holiday calendar. It is a great marketing occasion to sell Halloween candy, costumes and gadgets. Similarly, Black Friday, an American shopping bonanza that falls on the post-Thanksgiving Friday is used by shopping centers in Poland. Stores advertise seasonal sales on a wide range of products, although this tradition has not bee known in Poland until recently. This marketing ploy has become a symbolic start to the Christmas holiday season.

A familiar figure of Santa Claus is also an effect of marketing. It was invented by a well-known soft drink company and since then it has become a central character of many seasonally-themed movies and stories. Moreover, there are Santa Claus chocolates and Christmas tree ornaments. Parents tell children to be good, because Santa is watching and brings presents only to well-behaved kids. In Poland during the holiday season, people shop at Christmas markets, more and more often decorate fake Christmas trees, and replace traditional Christmas carols with seasonal pop songs.

In February, Valentine’s Day, which was absorbed by the Polish culture in the 1990s, fills the holiday gap between Christmas and Easter, mirroring the American tradition.

They way kids are raised today will influence future traditions. Similar processes have been taking place for hundreds of years. Customs, traditions and cultures influence each other and with time, new elements become assimilated in local cultures.

Karol Jachymek, Ph.D.

 

Cross-Cultural Influences and Holiday Traditions

Permeation of culturally distant customs and a uniform way of celebrating holidays across the globe are caused by numerous processes of globalization, behaviors and role models promoted by pop culture as well as marketing strategies used by popular brands.

At the same time, people often do not realize that some customs that seem to have been rooted in the local tradition for ages, actually have been assimilated from other cultures. For example, the German custom of decorating the Christmas tree was adopted in Poland in the late 18th and the early 19th century. On the other hand, the Parade of the Three Wise Men, reminiscent of the Polish custom of putting up a nativity play, is rooted in the Spanish tradition. St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish holiday when people meet in pubs, drink beer and dress in green, has been gaining popularity in Poland in recent years. Another foreign tradition, the Color Festival, during which people throw colorful powders at each other, comes from the Hindu spring festival, Holi.

Older generations are often reluctant to adopt foreign customs. According to the 2015 survey, conducted by Havas Media, only 2 in 10 Poles celebrate Halloween. However, parents do not forbid their children to participate in this new custom and they accompany the kids in trick or treating. This mechanism shows how new traditions and customs may take root in a society. They way kids are raised today will influence future traditions. Similar processes have been taking place for hundreds of years. Customs, traditions and cultures influence each other and with time, new elements become assimilated in local cultures.

Holidays - Time for Family and Friends

Does it mean that you have to celebrate holidays that do not mean anything to you? Not necessarily. It is good to take the new customs and traditions with a pinch of salt, find out where they come from, what is their meaning and how they relate to your individual needs or sensibilities. Moreover, ask whether a holiday has been spontaneously adopted to your culture or whether it has been created by marketers.

Finally, holidays are special, because they are a good occasion to spend time with family and friends. If the new customs provide an opportunity to do so, perhaps they are not so bad.

258 karol jachymek

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doctor Karol Jachymek – culture expert and lecturer at School of Ideas, a new undergraduate program focused on innovation, at SWPS University. His research interests include cultural and social history, film as a reflection of history, the themes of human body, gender and sexuality in film, and Polish cinema (especially of the Polish People’s Republic era, 1945-1989). He also researchers new perspectives in historical studies, the use of audio-visual materials as records of history, influence of film on individual and collective memory, and pop culture phenomena.

Popular Science Blog

Popular Science Blog 17-10-2017

Work-Life Balance or Burden?

The more you work the more productive you are. It seems logical. If it takes X minutes to produce Y number of products then one should be able to produce...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 09-10-2017

Holidays, Pop Culture and Marketing

According to the 2013 survey conducted by the Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS), as many as 72 per cent of Poles opposes commercialization of holidays. Despite this opposition, many people...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 29-09-2017

Effective Learning - How to Study to Get Great Results

Effective learning means working smarter not harder. Professor Czesław Nosal, psychologists from the Wrocław Faculty of Psychology at SWPS University explains how to study to get the best results and...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 11-09-2017

Becoming Yourself

“Be yourself” is a popular tenet of the Western culture. According to this viewpoint, to have a good life and garner admiration of others one must live in harmony with...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 31-08-2017

How to Overcome Post Vacation Blues

The end of vacation and the return to your daily routine and the usual responsibilities may cause uneasy emotions. Joanna Gutral, psychologist from SWPS University, explains how to deal with...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 22-08-2017

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? Curiosity as Motivational Force

What motivates people? What makes them venture into uncharted territories despite doubts and apprehension? What pushes people to constantly experiment? Why do people look for new solutions when they could...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 10-08-2017

Summer Vacation, Your Pets and Animal Rights

When the weather gets warmer and temperatures rise, leaving your pet in the car, even for a few minutes, may result in tragic consequences. Unfortunately during the summer, the number...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 07-08-2017

Internet Generation and Phenomenon of Entrepreneurship

The development of technology has always been one of the key factors of entrepreneurship growth, but who are the modern day entrepreneurs and how they succeed? Magdalena Kubów, management and...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 25-07-2017

Can Lack of Sleep Actually Kill You?

In today’s fast-paced 24/7 world that never unplugs, there are so many responsibilities, tasks and online distractions that tend to creep up on the time previously spent on exercise, cooking...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 24-07-2017

Virtual Vacation

These days more and more experts suggest that to enjoy your vacation and to fully experience the beauty and richness of the world, you need to log out and unplug...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 21-07-2017

The Power of Simple Acts of Kindness

How do you define kindness? Most people would intuitively answer that being kind means doing nice things for other people. Others might add that kindness includes being kind to oneself...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 19-07-2017

Can work make you happy?

A popular belief is that high earnings are the most important aspect of job satisfaction. However, research shows that although the salary is a significant factor of professional happiness, it...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 13-07-2017

How to Like Yourself

Self-esteem is a very important aspect our wellbeing. It affects the way we look at our achievements and relationships and it impacts the way we perceive our future. High self-esteem...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 21-06-2017

Five Tips on Decision Making

Every day we make choices. Most of the time, we make decisions about insignificant things, such as: latte or cappuccino, white shirt or blue shirt. However, from time to time...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 14-06-2017

Five Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination

“Procrastination is like a credit card: it's a lot of fun until you get the bill” – this apt and humorous simile was coined by an actor Christopher Parker. Many...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 01-06-2017

Robot Teaches Programming and Helps to Name Emotions

During my flight to Earth, my spacecraft crashed into an asteroid. Its parts scattered all over the world and now children help me find them. This is a story of...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 26-02-2017

Oscars as Element of American Mythology

Nowadays, the annual Oscar Gala has become a global celebration of cinema. It is an event full of glitz and glamour attended by artists and celebrities from around the world...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 14-12-2016

Quo Vadis Pakistan? Radical Islam and Religious Minorities

In Pakistan, torn by internal conflicts, radical Islamic groups are growing in strength. They often use the so called “blasphemy laws” as the justification for brutal attacks on their victims...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 18-11-2016

Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment and Career Planning

In today’s economy, companies that know how to attract and keep well qualified employees are the most successful. The task of finding the best talent with great potential is a...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 01-11-2016

Memories, Identity and Mortality

November is a month of remembrance in many countries. North American nations celebrate Memorial Day and Remembrance Day, which are devoted to commemorating fallen soldiers and surviving veterans. Catholics around...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 17-10-2016

Test of Salt for Seasoned Managers

Professor Mark Snyder, a social psychologist from the University of Minnesota, once joked that he would not like to have a boss who seasons his meals prior to tasting the...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 19-01-2016

Influence of Money on Human Behavior

A study conducted in a group of children, has shown that handling money may reduce helpfulness and generosity, but increase perseverance and effort applied to difficult tasks. The study was...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 07-10-2015

Designer Drug Generation

Designer drugs are the fourth most popular recreational stimulant used by young people today. The majority of users know these psychoactive substances only by their street names, such as “Cocolino”...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 23-02-2015

Weighty Data

Can abstract properties of an object influence its weight estimate? An international group of researchers, including psychologists from SWPS University in Sopot, studied what properties influence weight estimates with respect...

Read more