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Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV Polish Club celebrates All Saints’ Day, culture

GVL / Sydney Lim

On the night of Wednesday, Nov. 1 the Grand Valley State University Polish Club celebrated All Saints’ Day through a lantern-lighting festival. To celebrate, people decorated and lit lanterns in honor of Polish saints and in commemoration to their loved ones. 

Polish Club President and Financial Officer Dominik Vanderest said All Saints’ Day, also known as All Souls’ Day, is “a holiday to commemorate and reflect on all the saints of the church and all the goodwill and action that they’ve done throughout the years.” 

The event began with an opening discussion on why All Saints’ Day is a popular holiday in Poland celebrated by the Polish community. Then, paper lanterns were passed around along with markers. The group then began decorating the lanterns with memories of loved ones while Polish music played in the background.

After decorating and pictures, the group then traveled to the nearby church, St. Luke University Parish and GVSU Catholic Campus Ministry, to send off the lanterns. Unfortunately, for the group, the lanterns were unsuccessful due to wind conditions, but the overall goal was met: to remember the saints and those who had passed on.

Additionally, a typical Polish club event begins with an icebreaker. The members discuss current events occurring in Poland before moving on to learning Polish words such as the Polish colors or Polish greetings.

“Polish club looks like coming to meetings with an open mind and wanting to learn about Polish culture,” said Lauren Palencik, a member of the Polish Club e-board.

Polish club members also play a Kahoot at the end of every meeting, often with a small Polish candy as the prize.

The Polish Club is run by a four-person e-board who plan meetings and sets up events for club members. The club works to educate students and community members about Polish culture and share new ideas.

“The board puts together slides and creates fun facts and events for people to come and experience Polish culture,” said Julia Miezal, the club’s Vice President.

Though the majority of the club is Polish, Vanderest said being Polish is not a requirement to join and the club embraces anyone who desires to learn more about Polish culture. The club is interactive with its members, and often the e-board members ask for suggestions on events to do. Vanderest said they make a point to take the time to learn and embrace every new face that joins the club. 

“It’s for everyone who wants to express their Polish culture and whether they grew up with Polish parents or have Polish grandparents or are just interested in Polish culture, that’s where we help them embrace their Polish culture and heritage,” Vanderest said.

The club will host their annual Polka night on Nov. 15 celebrating Polish culture through music and dance. The Polka is a dance that originated in Poland in the 19th century and will be taught during the event and everyone is welcome to attend. Other upcoming events are a pierogi night and a Wigilia, which is a Polish Christmas dinner, in December.

The Polish Club invites anyone interested in their club to join them at Kirkhof Center every other Wednesday at 9 p.m.

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