According to recent studies, 62% of Poles drink wine and annually drink over 400 million litres of it. The “Poles in the World of Wine 2018” report shows that Polish people most often choose red wine (66%), semi-sweet (40%) and semi-dry (39%). Semi-sweet wines are especially popular with women. Semi-dry wines by people between 30-39 years, from big cities and with a higher education. Poles drink more than 400 million liters of wine a year, and this number is growing, as is the value of the wine market in Poland. In addition, 49% of Poles declare that they have basic knowledge about wines. The best knowledge is assessed by people with a secondary or higher education and living in big cities.
Jordan Jurgiel has been living in Bristol for twelve years now. He says he has always felt welcomed and safe here. Until now. A few days ago someone sprayed “Poles, go away!” on his fence. “I am truly shocked, it’s disgusting,”he says. It is the first time Jordan Jurgiel has experienced racism in twelve years. He has been in Bristol since 2005 and is a supermarket manager. “I was coming home late on Saturday. Just as I was opening my door, my neighbour asked if I had seen the graffiti someone had sprayed just outside my door. I was shocked,” says Jordan Jurgiel. He is convinced that the graffiti is directed only at him. There are no other Polish people who live on his street. “Fortunately my kids are on holiday and have not seen it. I thought I was getting on well with all my neighbours, but then something like this happens, he adds. Jordan Jurgiel has already reported the case. This is not the first such case in Bristol.
Following new legislation, two Sundays in every month are free from trading, which is a completely new situation for people across Poland. Many have not yet got used to this new ‘custom’ which was introduced by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. Although the shopping centres are closed this on certain Sundays, Poles have handled this ‘problem’ and trade is flourishing at petrol stations. Previous months have shown a record increase of sales on trading Sundays. After the Sunday trading ban had been introduced, it was clear to see that a large group of consumers would not give up shopping on this day. It seems Polish people will still need time to get used to this new law and how to creatively spend their free time, but not necessarily in shopping centres.
Historical sources suggest that there were no primary public schools at that time and only the royal family had access to private schools. Children began their official education at the age of seven. However, before they were sent to the appropriate school, they had often already completed some basic education in their respective family homes. The lessons were conducted in groups by clergymen so that children could be inspired by their ambitious approach to acquiring knowledge. The basis for elementary education was not the familiar ‘reading comprehension’ known from primary schools nowadays, but the complete opposite. Children began learning by reciting Psalters. The selection of Psalters as primary reading materials did not raise any concerns at the time. From the very beginning, pupils were expected to sing and know all the psalms by heart before even understanding the meaning of even one Latin word or learning anything about reading the letters of the alphabet. It was only at the next stage of their educational journey were they taught to associate sounds and words with individual letters.
From the beginning of the year around 77 garbage heaps have been set alight. In some cases, black smoke has been visible from a distance of several kilometres. One question still remains unanswered: who is to blame for this ecological disaster? Were these fires spontaneous or arson attacks although it is hard to believe that they were all caused naturally. Garbage is great business with Polish refuse centres being paid €50 to process one ton of waste. If you multiply the amount of garbage that the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection (GIOŚ) allowed in 2017, you get a figure of more than PLN 150 million. It is estimated that the illegal garbage business which aims to keep garbage in Poland is even worth PLN 1.5 billion. Waste in landfills should be recycled which involves huge costs. However, ‘spontaneous’ fires suddenly solve this problem, reducing costs and turning all income into profit. However, the detrimental consequences of these fires are effecting millions of Poles.
The Polish Government recently adopted the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance. The Senate accepted it without any amendments and President Andrzej Duda, signed it the same day. The amendments repeal two articles: 55a and 55b. The first speaks of penalties and imprisonment for attributing responsibility to Poland and Poles for the crimes of the Third Reich, and the second that these regulations apply to both Polish citizen and foreigners. The American media commented on these changes. According to the New York Times, Poland is simply repairing the diplomatic damage caused by the previous amendment, adopted in January. The newspaper recalls that the Act had a negative impact not only on the reputation of Poland but also on Polish-Israeli relations, hurting relations developed so far between the nations. The Washington Post believes that the reaction to the previous amendment was so fierce that the authors themselves were surprised. The daily claims that by amending the law once again Law and Justice (PiS) taking a political gamble and has been done to calm tensions with strategic allies, that is the US and the EU. Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki and Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu have just signed a Polish-Israeli declaration that talks about the lack of consent to assign Poland or the entire Polish nation for the atrocities of the Nazis and related collaborators. Both governments have also condemned all forms of anti-Semitism and other negative national stereotypes.
Religious practice among young people is the lowest it has ever been in Poland. According to the latest report of Pew Research Center, young people all over the world is becoming increasingly less religious. This applies to Catholics, Muslims as well as followers of other religions. When it comes to the decline in religiousness, Poland is one of the leading countries. Poles under 40 are most likely to miss religious ceremonies and are least attached to religion. In the case of the lack of daily prayer, only Japan is better than Poland. Even though Poland are still Catholic leaders in Europe and every third priest in Europe is Polish, this number may soon drop dramatically as there are increasingly fewer people joining seminaries. According to research by Professor Józef Baniak of Adam Mickiewicz University, who analyzes religiousness, young Polish people are religious illiterates. They cannot name the most important Catholic prayers and when asked how many Gospels there are, many say there are eight. What is more, many consider St. Peter, the Mother of God and John Paul II to be part of the Holy Trinity.