Polish Folklore

Polish Folklore

Poland is a country of rich folkloric culture and tradition. Polish folk art finds its best expression in music, architecture, painting, carving, ceramics, weaving, lace making, furniture making, wrought iron work, paper cuts, and song and dance.

Polish folk songs and dances form a distinctive group within international folklore that is completely unique and original. There are more than 40 distinctly different regional costumes with accompanying musical and dance traditions. The origin of most Polish folk dances is in pagan ritual, as they were once part of nuptial and harvest ceremonies. With time, dances lost their religious significance, becoming a common pastime of the people. The variety of Polish folk dances resulted from the country's history, geographical and political factors, social and economic relations, as well as beliefs and customs.

Regional folk dances are the highest form of historical tradition. Distinctive dances of the Highlanders (górale) from the Tatra and Beskidy Mountains in the South of Poland, where many traits of ancient pastoral culture are still preserved, show mountaineer battle dances. The dances from the Polish Highlands are typically male orientated, and demonstrate agility in the characteristic leaps, squats and jumps which represent the battles of past times.

The region of Rzeszów presents a lively, humorous style of songs and dances that represent peasant lives in the fields. This region is characterized by spontaneous changes in music and dance steps which are performed on bent knees and low to the ground.

Characteristically different to most other dances in Poland is the choreography of Silesia (Śląsk). For example, the Trojak is a dance performed by one man with two females – a feature not seen in any other region of Poland.

The geographically central regions of Opoczno and Łowicz are relatively close to one another, and are known for their colourful, striped costumes, lyrical song and strong dance styles.

The region of Kurpie, has two separate and distinct styles of song and dance. The "green forest" and the "white forest" separated by the river Narew are completely diverse in their song and dance. The Kurpie region is also noted for their horse breeding, thus dance steps resembling galloping horses are typical of this region.

The Kaszubian (Kaszuby) region located in the Poland’s north along the Baltic coastline, shows a strong maritime influence upon their specific style of songs and dances.

Apart from the many regional folk dances (not all have been mentioned here), are those that illustrate traditional Polish dances that have become known around the world. The National dances of Poland include the graceful Polonez, the vivacious Mazur, the lively Oberek, the graceful Kujawiak and the majestic Krakowiak.

The Polonez, also referred to as the Polonaise (a French name), is a processional style of dance which was popularized by Polish Nobility in the 17th Century and in the 18th Century, the dance spread throughout Europe. The Mazur, or Mazurka (also a French name) spread across Europe during the 18th Century as a social dance. Originating in the central plains of central Poland, it grew in popularity as the capital of Poland moved from Krakow to the Mazovian city of Warsaw. The Polish national anthem (Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła) is in fact, a Mazur melody.

The Oberek, a quick vigorous dance, is accompanied with many spins and turns ("Obertany" and "obracać się"), which is where the name came from. The Oberek is normally accompanied by the Kujawiak, a slow and romantic dance where the movements mimic the sway of golden wheat in the fields.

The Krakowiak is linked to the city of Kraków. Well known for its quick 2/4 tempo, the main steps resemble the galloping of horses, accentuated by turns and stamps. The Krakowiak, like the Polonez and the Mazur, was adopted as a ballroom dance performed by 18th Century Polish nobility, as well as the nobility of Europe.

Folk culture, in the form of visual and performing arts are a vital component in keeping alive the national heritage of Poland.


Folk group „WIWATY”

Our folk group „WIWATY” works by the Community Centre in Pobiedziska near Poznań in Wielkopolska region. It came into existence in 1971 in Pomarzanowice. The group took its name from the folklore dance called “wiwat” which was popular in the past in Wielkopolska region.

The activites of the folk group are very rich. The programme of our group contain the folklore from Wielkopolska region with characterstic instruments such as bag-pipes and a wedding goat. We also present national dances, same regional suits, tradicional pictures and spectacles. We present our repertoire in colorfull folk-dresses which show beauty of old years.

For 30 years of the group existence dancers and musicians have given abore 1000 concerts and have taken part in 40 artistic travels abroad.

“WIWATY” present high artistic level. The recognition of our achievements we got the great number of rewards and honours and we became known in Poland and abroad. Our group took part in a few recording for TV and the radio.

The main thing, much better than rewards is the fact that young artists from Pobiedziska derive the from working for the team a lot of satisfaction and fun.

The artistic manager of our group is Andrzej Horbik and the choreographer is Sławomir Pawliński.
Successes of Folklore Group “Wiwaty” in 2009 year

Successes of Folklore Group “Wiwaty” in 2009 year:


      • Great Poland meeting of Carol and Nativity Play Groups in MiędzychódLaureate title

  • Participation in parade of Easter Egg at the Market Square in Poznan – Palm Sunday

  • Domestic concurs of folklore groups in Złotów ensemble I place,

    backyard band II place

      • Voivodeship Folklore Review in Nowy TomyślI place - Laureate title

  • Participation in VII Krobi’s Meetings “Folklore is able to be likedin Krobia

  • Workshop in Crimea - Ukraine within Polish – Ukrainian Youth Exchange, cooperation with Culture National Centrum in Warsaw

  • Representation of Poland in World Review of Folklore “Integration: parade and concert in Poznan, Leszno, Wronki and Pobiedziska

  • Balkan Folklore Festival :, Primorsko ,Kiten, Carewo – Bulgaria

  • X Poviat Review of Folklore Ensembles in Lusowo – Poznan Starost’s price for the aggregate of operation

  • Participation in 110 anniversary of showed up monument of Julius Słowacki in Miłosław

  • VI Review of Backyard Band in Pobiedziska – guest performance

  • Participation in program Salt of earth” TV TRWAM recorded in Great Poland Ethnographic Park in Dziekanowice and in Pobiedziska

  • Videotape of TV program Music of our yards Only in Lvov”- folklore from Lvov - TV TRWAM in Torun

      • X edition of competition declared by self-government of Great Poland voivodeship: ”Pro-ecological and pro-cultural actions within strategy of development of countryside region” for project “Cultural heritage as a key for clover of Great Poland region - Laureate title

      • X Poviat Review of Carol and Nativity Play Groups in Pobiedziska – Laureate title

  • Participation in VI Christmas Bazaar in National Museum of Agriculture and Agricultural – Ford Industry in Szreniawa

  • Concert for participants of 32 European Meetings of Youth Taize' at the Poznan International Fair


Contact information:

Andrzej Horbik (Head of the Group) phone: 602-455-308,

e-mail: folkwiwaty@op.pl, www.wiwaty.prv.pl

projekt i realizacja: Stronakultury.pl