Just How Polish Are You?
Have fun checking your “Polishness Index”

by Robert Strybel

This little informal text has been devised to measure you Polish ethnicity. This could be an interesting game to play in your circle of family and friends. It could also be held as a kind of contest at some Pol-Am community function or simply played in total solitude for your own amusement and/or edification. Simply go through the list and reply “Yes” or “No” to each enumerated activity:


  1. A mature, profound awareness of and pride in one’s Polish heritage as well as a willingness to publicly declare and share its values with others;
  2. At least a fair ability to read, write and/or speak Polish or a strong desire to learn.
  3. Retention of one’s original Polish surname and its legal re-Polonization in the event that an ancestor had Anglicized or otherwise de-Polonized it;
  4. Dating largely within one’s ethnic group;
  5. Having a spouse of Polish ancestry;
  6. Spending time with friends of Polish ancestry and/or with Polish cultural interests;
  7. Polonian activism – holding a leadership post in one or more Pol-Am organizations;
  8. Polonian professional activity – involvement in Polish-flavored business activities, academic endeavors, cultural pursuits or other fields (Polish goods and services, writing, publishing, teaching, etc.);
  9. Giving of Polish first names to one’s children and/or pets;
  10. Subscribing to or regularly purchasing a Polish or Pol-Am publication other than a fraternal organ which is sent to all members free of charge;
  11. Regularly visiting Polish-themed websites and/or Googling Polish entries online;
  12. The celebration of Polish festive occasions in the home (Wigilia [Christmas Eve supper], Święcone [blessing of Easter food], namedays, 3rd of May, St John’s Eve, Dożynki [harvest fest], All Saints Day, Polish Independence Day (Nov. 11), St Andrew’s Eve, St Nicholas Day) – at least four of the above;
  13. Membership of a Polish parish (Roman Catholic, Polish National Catholic, Protestant, other);
  14. Membership of one or more Polonian organizations (club, insurance fraternal, society, sports team, choir, dance group, etc.);
  15. The presence of Polish cultural assets in the home (books, newspapers, paintings, decorations, recordings, DVDs, TV Polonia, etc.);
  16. The regular preparation and/or consumption of Polish food (at least once a week);
  17. Travel to Poland (at least once);
  18. The giving of Polish gifts to family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.
  19. Listening to Polish radio programs or Polish music cassettes or CDs in one’s car.
  20. A conscious interest in expanding one’s knowledge of Polish history, culture, genealogy, heraldry, etc.

SCORING: Each “Yes” is one point. A score of 18-20 means you rank amongst America’s most culturally aware and active Polonians; 15-17 still puts you above average; 12-14 is not bad; 9-11 is mediocre and anything below 8 would suggest that you are drifting away from your heritage. After you have completed the text, pass it on to someone else and see how you measure up to others.

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