Thursday, October 23, 2008

Series: Things I Love About Poland, Part II: Flowers

Spending an extended period of time in a new place, you start to perceive the little cultural differences that aren't immediately evident. Those little things--customs in Poland like hand-kissing and using exact change--those are the sweetest parts of spending time in new places.

Here's another one I love: kwiaty. In Poland, there's an appropriate flower for every occasion. At my work, we rarely get through an event without the giving of red or pink roses; for birthdays its yellow roses but yellow chrysanthemums are reserved for funerals. I once gave a carnation for an apology, and the recipient actually laughed at me.

But the best part for me isn't really the individual instances, it's the overall omnipresence of flowers and flower-sellers. On Sundays the streets are full of young women with flowers, anxious dates with small bouquets, mothers pushing strollers carrying flowers, men holding flowers in one hand and their girlfriend's hand in the other. On sunny days, the main market square in Krakow is one huge flower-shop, and it's really not a tourist trap. I'm pretty sure it's--if I may dare to use the word--authentic.

Anyway, as traditions go, it's bright and cheery and definitely something special for me.

If flowers aren't charming enough for you, though, no worries: peacock feathers are also very popular.

No comments: