“Bobby”, captain of his university’s American football team, waits at the bottom of the stairs for his sweetheart “Beverly”, dressed in a red dress and a smile. bright : a very Hollywood cliché, which seems to stick only to American culture?
However, Poland also remains attached to its own “prom”, responding to the sweet name of Studniówka. And if he deprives himself of the graduation ceremony, a caricature of the United States, it is because his party takes place, curiously, one hundred days before the Matura, the final exam for high school students. Or, you guessed it, around mid-March. The moment is therefore perfect to deepen the history and the little legends of this tradition that is now more than two centuries old.
The origins of the Studniówka
Appearing in 1812, the Studniówka is above all an occasion to celebrate the entry into adulthood of Polish high school students. And what a good justification for throwing a giant party anyway! The immovability of this evening and the purpose of its celebration have made it a must for all Polish establishments: whoever organizes the most spectacular ball will win. Wearing majestic dresses for girls, and sophisticated costumes for boys, creating little coupons for VIP invitations or even renting a castle or manor – nothing is big enough to impress future adults.
Under the proud eyes of the teachers and the parents of the students, invited, the latter attend this ceremony as witnesses of a generational relay race.
Thus, this dance offers future graduates the opportunity to share an honorary glass of champagne with their teachers: it is, according to tradition, the first and only time that students drink alcohol in the presence and with their teachers.
Pan Tadeusz and the Pole
Another strong image that marks the transition to adulthood, students have a duty to open the dance, and not in any way. The first notes to be played are those of the theme Pan Tadeusza film that retraces the homonymous work by Adam Mickiewicz, considered the father of Polish literature and one of the greatest romantic poets in Europe, whose work is considered the most exceptional of all his writings.
And, to complete the accompaniment of these highly prestigious symbols, students must open the dance with a “Polonaise”, a popular dance in 16th-century Poland. This dance, very popular until the 18th century thanks to composers such as Mozart, Bach and of course Chopin, is of a very solemn and slow nature: the glorious past of Poland which it represents binds students to their roots, while giving them all the nobility that it represents. surrounds this dance. It quickly becomes easier to understand what symbolic meaning such a moment can have for Poles, who are always very proud to remember the glory of Poland of yore.
So much for the almost mystical character of this evening. However, and even if the Studniówka precedes the Matura by a few weeks, the dance is also to be placed in its student context: that is, the famous school-leaving examination – capital, which is fast approaching. The Studniówka is therefore loaded with small folkloric elements, related to unusual local superstitions and traditions, which should bring luck to the graduates on the day of the exam.
Girls are therefore advised to wear a red suspender to prom, which would be a good sign ahead of the Mature. The most superstitious will go as far as putting on this lingerie the same day as the exam, all without having washed it, preferably.
Let their male colleagues reassure themselves: if it is a bit complicated for them to rely on the omen of the garter, these gentlemen can gladly wear red underwear: the effect would be more or less the same, according to legend. .
It should be noted that men should wear the same costume during Studniówka and Matura, and that women should avoid cutting their hair between the two deadlines and that everyone MUST NOT take off their shoes during the prom!
Superstitions in step with the times …
High school students who have forgotten their bright red panties, or who have inadvertently taken off their shoes due to blisters, can also expect some superstitions to “catch up” after Studniówka. Even in superstition, Poland practices poprawka !
There are therefore many, specific to the region or city in which each Studniowka is located. And the city of Warsaw is no exception. Once the dance is over, it would be enough, for example, to jump around the statue of Nicolas Copernicus, which is located in the Old City, to secure exemplary grades in science subjects. As for the literary subjects, the honor is attributed to … Adam Mickiewicz, also him, whose statue is in Mickiewicza Park, of course.
All that remains is to wish good luck to high school students in Poland, this week the tests of Matura begin!