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Historytellsusthatallraces,creeds,andnationalitiesbegan

elsewhere.ThisistrueforPolandaswell.Whenwelookintothe
religioussectofPolandwefindthataccordingtohistographers,
AsianssettledtheareaofPolandandwiththesetribescamethe
religionofJudaism.ThesetribesimmigratedslowlytotheBalkin
PeninsulaandPolandLithuinia(ImpactofIranianCulture).This
immigrationalonetellsusthatsomeoftheoriginalPoleswereof
Iraniandecent.TherearealsotiestoMuslimswithinthecountryof
PolandthatdescendedfromTartarsandareoftheHanafisect.The
JewishsectwaslargeinthebordersofPoland.BeforetheNazi
invasionJewsflockedtoPolandindrovesfromtheouterregionsof
Europe,therebybeingoneofthelargestreligioussectswithinthe
countrybeforethetenthcentury.Polandwasknownasahavenof
toleranceduetotheabilitytopracticeunhindered.Infactthe
'StatuteofKalisz',a13thCenturyedictissuedbythePolishstate,
wasthefirstofitskindonthecontinentandguaranteedlegal,civil
andhumanitarianrightsforJews(PolishDictionary).Althoughthese
branchesareverysmallincomparisontotheRomanCatholicsthat
resideinPolanditisimportanttonotethatnotallPolesareRoman
Catholiceventoday.
Religionhasplayedaverylargepartinthedevelopmentofboth
socialdevelopmentaswellasthecultureofthePoland.Inregardsto
RomanCatholicismwefindthatfromtheverybeginning966BCthe
emergenceofChristianitybywayofRomanCatholicismnewrouteswere
forming.TheChristianizationofPolandnotonlyconvertedthe
countrytoChristianitybutalsoestablishedachurchadministration,
andbroughtPolandintotheRomanfamilyofCivilization,thereby
grantingPolandtheprotectionofRome (Ludwikowski).Withthe
protectionofRomethecustoms,art,architectureandmusicfollowed.
ChristianityalsointroducedPolandtotheworldofWesterncourt
mannersandceremonies,whilethepaganbeliefs,superstitions,and
ancientcustomsallbutdisappearedorwereonlypracticedinprivate.
Ludwikowskialsonotesthatinthesixteenthcenturyhumanistictrends
broughtbackaninterestinclassicallearningandstrengthenedthe
positionoflaymanbydeprivingtheclergythemonopolyonlearning.
JudaismthoughitmaynotplayaslargearoleinPolishsocietydoes
indeedplayarole.TheybroughtwiththemaGermandialectmixed
withHebrewwordswhichtheyusedforhundredsofyears,becoming
Yiddish,theuniversallanguageofPolishJewry.SomeoftheJewsthat
settledintotheareabecamemintmasterstoPolishKings,Jewswere
theonlymerchantsinPolandatthetimeandtheystampedthecoins
withHebrewinscriptions.Leadingthewaytofurtherdevelopments
throughtime.TheJewishpeoplewerevaluabletothePolisheconomy
thereforethekingsmadeeveryefforttoattractlargenumbersofJews
tosettleintoPoland.AnofficialcharterwasofferedouttoJewsin
ordertohelpthemestablishhomesandworkinhecommunities
(Shreiber).

Asawholewhenwelookathowreligionhasplayedapartinthe
cultureandsocietytherearedirecttiestomoderncustomsaswellas
ancient.FamilylifeisveryimportanttoPoles.Thistiesinwith
boththeJewryandCatholicism.Apersonsfirstandforemost
obligationistoonesfamily,whiletheextendedfamilyisthenorm
andPolesrelyontheirInnercircleoffamilyandveryclosefriends
foradvise,tofindajoborrentingahome.Outsidersarekeptatan
armslength.WeseethistodayasmanyoftheJewishcommunitiesstick
togetherandviewanyoneoutsideoftheirreligionasfriendlybut
tendtostickwiththeirown.Religionplaysanimportantrolein
thePolishsocietyandisdeeplyintertwinedwithPolishculture.
Religiousholidaysareconsiderednationalholidayswhenmost
businessesareclosed.ThemostimportantholidayisChristmasand
celebrationslastfortwoandahalfdays.Polesalsopractice
Dzielenieoplatkiem whichisthebreakingandsharingofathinwhite
waferwithallfamilymembers(Poland).
ThecityofCzestochowaisconsideredasacredsitein
Catholicism.CzestochowahostsashrineofJasnaGorawhichis
consideredanationalshrineinPoland.Thissacredsitehoststhe
BlackMadonnawhichisaoneofakindworkofartthathasbeenkept
protectedforgenerations.AnothersacredsiteforthePolishpeople
inregardstoreligionistheSanctuaryoftheHolyVirginofStoczek
whichhostsapictureoftheVirginMarythatisareplicaofthesame
onethatishanginginRome.Polandhasmanysacredsitesthatcanbe
thoughtofaseitherreligiousormagical.Themostfamousofthese
magical sitesarethosethatbringhealthandwellness.InGrabarka
thereisaholywellthatifyoutakeadrinkfromthewateryouare
guaranteedhealthfortheentireyear.Anothersuchplaceisnear
Garbarka.Asmallstreamissaidtowardoffdisease.Youfirstwash
yourfaceandhandsinthestream,andcarefullydryoffusingatowel
ofscarf,leavingthescarfatthestream,asifyouwereleavingthe
locusofthedisease.
Itissaidthattherootsofreligionaredeeplyimbeddedwithin
thecontextofPolitics.IFwegobacktobeforethePiastDynasty,we
findthattheDukeMieszkocoveredtoChristianityafterheweddedhis
wife,whosefamilywasChristian.Marriagesinthistimewere
alliancestoguaranteesafetyandformpoliticalalliancesforthis
reason.Intodayssocietythoughreligionandpoliticstakeseparate
directions,theyareintertwined.Thepostcommunisterabrought
religionclassesintoschoolsystem,andgaveprieststhestatusof
teachers.Thisneweraalsobroughtonachangeinwomenroleintheir
society.Therewasadeteriorationofwomenjobsinthelaborforce,
andmanywomenwerebackinthehomeswithdomesticduties.Church
lawshavechangedpoliticsinthatthegovernmenthastoplaynicein
considerationofwhatthechurchbelievesduetothehighnumbersof
Catholicsthatresidewithinthecountry.theabilityoftheChurchto
turnaroundthepoliticaldebateremainsstrong.Togarnerelectoral
andpublicsupportpoliticianstendtoavoidcontroversialtopics

whichareconsideredtobedivisiveinsociety,andexpressageneral
commitmenttothecatholicdogma (Heinen).Throughoutthelifeof
Polandreligiondoesseemtoplayaverylargeroleinpolitics.In
ordertoappeasethepeoplethegovernmentmustthinkofthechurch
andultimatelywhatthechurcheswantsandneedsareinordertokeep
ariotfromhappening.
Imyselfamnotadeeplyreligiousperson,howeverevenIcansee
thatreligionisahugewayoflifeformanypeople.InPoland
religionkeepsthepeoplegroundedandthisloveofthechurchmoves
thePolesontogreaterthings.TheyhaveaprofoundloveofGod,and
theChurch.ReligionisthestartingpointforallPoles anditisthis
lovethatenablesthemtoendurethroughthemanytrialsand
tribulationsthatthiscountryhashadinthepast,andwillmost
likelyhavethroughout.

Heinen,J.,&Portet,S.(2009).Religion,Politics,andGenderEqualityin
Poland.UNRISDUnitedNationsResearchInstituteforSocialDevelopment.
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etiquette/poland.html

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dictionary.com/polandreligionhttp://www.polishdictionary.com/poland
religionhttp://www.polishdictionary.com/polandreligion
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Sites,SacredPlaces(OneWorldArcheology)(pp.141148).NewYorkCity,
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