Many tourists from Ukraine and other countries of the post-Soviet space believe that they know about the traditions and lifestyle of the Poles all for the reason that mostly Slavs inhabit Poland. And what, they say, is the difference between Ukrainians and Poles – they are almost the same people. But this is far from the case. There are very serious differences in the rules of behavior, and in traditions, and if you do not take all this into account, you can remain in Poland misunderstood and be regarded as an impolite person.
Poles are a deeply religious nation, therefore, Catholicism plays a huge role. The majority of this country visit the church quite regularly, some not only on holidays but daily. It goes without saying, that church holidays are celebrated with great scope. On holidays, not only cafes but also other institutions, such as large stores, hypermarkets, and supermarkets, may not work. Since Poles usually celebrate holidays in a quiet circle of the family, the same Ukrainians do. For Ukrainian people family is always in the first place.
Showing respect to others
In Poland, there remained a polite treatment “Pan” and “Pani”, which can be added to the name or profession. People who have just met can call each other by their surname with the addition of “Pan”. When communication becomes less formal, you can use “pan” along with the name or even a diminutive form of the name. Well, and between friends, relatives, and young people, the word “pan” generally cannot be found.
In Ukraine, people show their respectful attitude to others using a polite form – a full name with father’s name. For example, the man’s name is Andrij and his father’s name is Sergij, so in Ukraine, you can call this unknown person as Andrij Sergijowych. Young people quickly pass to “you”, anything insulting in its form is not present, if it is a simple friendly dialogue.
Poles treat everything much easier than Ukrainians. They even more often trust. Ukrainians are suspicious of everything they do not know. At the same time, one must bear in mind that in some cases Ukrainians show unreasonable stubbornness, uncompromising attitude, inability to compromise in mutual relations.
Talents, skills and culture
Ukrainians are very talented and creative. They like to sing very much. People from Ukraine love to sing everywhere, in the shower, during eating, at work, singing, sometimes provoking a sincere surprise of others around them. After all, Ukrainian folk songs are very beautiful, so melodic, so sensual. Painting, embroidery, woodcarving, pysankas have long adorned the life of Ukrainians. In these works of art, the soul of our people is embodied – sensitive, lyrical, talented, full of high feelings and love for the world around us.
Between the Poles, who live in the north-west and south-east, there really is a very big difference. People from the southern part of the country are more disrespectful to foreign citizens. And all because confrontation has historical and social roots.
Ukrainians are characterized by assertiveness, interest in the work, the ability to show accuracy, diligence, and independence. They are proud of their ancient traditions of struggle against foreign invaders, those pages of history when Ukrainian soldiers showed determination, intransigence to enemies, showed good organization, ease in management.
Drinking habits and having fun
As for alcohol, Poles love vodka and consider it almost a national drink. Some people prefer to drink vodka after a feast, not having a snack, but washing down with soda or juice, others – during the feast, everything depends on the preferences of the person himself. If you ask to dilute vodka with juice or soda, everything is fine, it is not considered indecent, especially for ladies.
Since it’s about alcohol, it’s worth noting that Ukrainians do not drink vodka with barrels, as some might have guessed. The national drink is called “gorilka” – it is similar to vodka and served as a symbol of purification of the spirit, but nevertheless, they differ. This drink is often flavored with hot pepper and snacked with salo, it is worth trying.
Happiness with life
The citizens of Poland have one not very good feature – they constantly complain. They are unhappy with everything – roads, goods, medicine, bureaucracy, kindergartens, etc. Undoubtedly, their indignation is not groundless. The worst thing is that they complain, but they do not want to do anything.
In all cases, Ukrainians tend to excel, be among the first, to achieve success sooner than others, to fix it and develop it as soon as possible. Ukrainians adapt quickly to new conditions, easily find mutual understanding with representatives of other nations.
All nations have their strong and weak sides, but everything is up to a person who is visiting the country. Poland and Ukraine are indeed colorful, enigmatic, tempered but really interesting to visit, with their own uniqueness. So my advice is – do not think any minute, make a trip to Poland and Ukraine and investigate the beauty and cultural diversity of these adorable countries!
* this article explains the differences between the two nations according to an subjective opinion of an Ukrainian expat living in Poland (article author).