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Interesting facts and trivia

  1. Polish people seldom celebrate their birthdays. Instead, a Pole would normally celebrate what is called the name day – a specific calendar date associated with one’s given name.
  2. Nicolaus Copernicus, who proposed that the Earth was not the center of the universe, was born Polish.
  3. Frederic Chopin was also born in Poland and had a Polish mother. (He had a French name because his father was French.)
  4. Marie Curie, the first person to ever win a Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields (physics and chemistry), was also Polish-born.
  5. The traditional military salute in Poland only uses two fingers. This used to cause trouble abroad, as foreign military officers thought the Polish soldiers were making fun of them – so today, when outside of Poland, the Polish soldiers salute with all five fingers.
  6. The bigos – a hunter’s stew often served in a hollowed-out loaf of bread, and considered the national dish of Poland – takes three days to cook properly. (It can be cooked in about three hours, but the Poles believe it tastes best if, after cooking, it is frozen solid, then left frozen for three days before being thawed and reheated.)
  7. In Poland, if you want to take the elevator to the second floor, you need to press “1” not “2” – pressing “2” will lead you to the third floor. On that same note, when you want to go to the ground floor, you need to press “0.”
  8. The first exact maps of the moon were published by Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, also known as “The Founder of Lunar Topography.”
  9. In the same way that some of us like to call our dogs Blackie or Brownie or Whitey, the Poles like to call their dogs Burek, which means “brownish gray.”
  10. The Poles have a holiday they call St. John’s Night. They celebrate it by setting wreaths afloat on the water, burning herbs – and jumping over bonfires!