June begins with a holiday that all kids look forward to. On June 1st, Children’s Day is celebrated in Poland. Children are treated with a special attention; they receive presents and special treats. Various sport activities and concerts are held at schools and parks. It is a family holiday, so parents usually take the kids to the ZOO, amusement parks or to a family picnic.
Talking about children, it is worth mentioning that Poland played a special part in establishing the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations. It is a human rights treaty setting out the economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. Almost all the countries in the world ratified the Convention.
June 24th is the official beginning of summer and the shortest night of the year. There are many traditions connected with this day (or actually the night on June 23rd), most of them originate in the ancient pagan times. The Catholic Church incorporated and influenced some of these traditions .June 24th is devoted to St. John the Baptist and some of the water rituals were tied to christening. St. John’s Night or Sobotka, is a celebration of fire, water, sun, moon and love. People used to light huge bonfires in the fields and by the rivers to chase the darkness away. Young men were jumping through the fire, what was believed to protect from evil and bad luck. Unmarried girls set their “wianki” (flower wreaths with a candle lit inside) on a river and tried to guess their future. If any man was able to pull a girl’s wreath out of water, she would get married soon. But if a wreath sunk or got stuck in the bulrushes, the poor girl would become an old maid. Another Slavic myth on this special night is a fern blossom. Legend has it that deep in the woods a magic flower appears for a brief moment on the shortest night and whoever finds it, will be blessed with wealth, power and wisdom.