Thursday, 28 June 2007

Misia's First Holy Communion

Misia (pron: Meesha), my daughter, had her first holy communion in May. Some pictures of her and the family - including myself - are on my picassa web site.

The first holy communion is a very important occasion. The children - Misia is nine - dress up in their beautiful white dresses and smart suits. Their families get together to celebrate both at the ceremony and at a dinner afterwards. Many of these dinners are very large affairs, which usually take place in restaurants and halls, like weddings, but unlike most other family celebrations, which take place at home. It is the most important occasion for giving personal presents - wedding presents being less for the individual. Misia's special present was a trip to Paris to visit the Disney and Asterix theme sites - we leave on saturday.

Poland is heavily Roman Catholic and in most places there is no obvious alternative, although Orthodox churches become more frequent closer to the eastern border. Catholicism is fully integrated into the educational and social system here - hence Misia's involvment, so I can only find it amusing when the Minister for Education (who unfortuantely looks like a frankenstein monster) tries to integrate religion into the educational system. One can only admire the energy he expended trying to get the constituition change to ensure that non-existent abortions don't happen.

Democracy here is so strong - unlike the UK or US - that the weird workings of such politicians are fascinating. The Polish President, telling the Germans that they are mass murders that should be paying for their crimes, may not go down well in European Union negotiations, but it is the view of most Polish people, a large proportion of tradtional English people and try getting into conversation with local people working in European and North African tourist resorts about the merits of German tourists. Is it so unfortunate that democracy creates leaders that say what their people think? It is certainly a great deal more entertaining.

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