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Grandma In Polish | Babcia, Busia & Busha

June 05, 2019 4 min read

3 Comments

Babcia And Busia The Words For Polish Grandmother

POLISH FOR GRANDMOTHER

Babcia, Busha, Busia, Grandma, Nana, or Babushka. What do you call your Polish grandma or what should you use as a Polish word for grandma? Read on and we’ll clear this up!

HOW TO SAY GRANDMA IN POLISH

The most frequently used and the correct Polish word for grandma is Babcia. A Polish grandmother holds a very special place in every Polish child's hearts, so it's only fair we learn more about her! Still, using another word for grandma in Polish is still fine, if that’s what your Polish family does. So let’s see all the variations of words used for a grandmother in Polish!

IS BABUSHKA POLISH

We all know of the term Babushka, which is often used to describe elderly Slavic women. However, it's not a Polish word - although Polish people use it to call the well-known dolls or talking about the famous headscarf. This term is actually mostly known to describe a Russian grandmother and is not at all a Polish word for grandmother, nor a grandmother in the Polish language. The same goes for thinking that Nana in Polish means grandmother: although used all around the world, and some Polish families might use this word, it is not originally Polish for grandma.

IS BUSIA POLISH

Busia in Polish is not really used as Babcia in Polish - it is rather a Polish-American variation. Although if you know a Busia Grandma who likes to be called this, don’t correct her!

IS BUSHA POLISH

Again, there is no Busha in Polish, though you might find online that it is of Polish origin and meaning grandma in Polish language. Yet if you know a Busha Grandma or a truly Polish Busha, do say dzień dobry to her!

POLISH FOR GRANDMA

So, how to say grandmother in Polish? As there are so many potential Polish words for grandma, it might be confusing. But simply: grandma in Polish language is called Babcia (or Babunia, which is used more dearly), and this is important to know because she does have an essential role in a typical Polish family. Why is it so?

Although Poles always appreciate the cooking of their own mothers, it is the Polish granny that you go to whenever you need to be comforted with food.

To Babcias, grandchildren never seem to grow up, they are always cared for as if they are still babies; in the most positive sense of this description.

The Polish grandmother and Polish grandfather's importance is recognized in Poland and is even a part of Polish history. They even have their celebrated days!

Grandmother's day was introduced in 1964 and has been celebrated on January 21st, ever since. This is the day you pay a visit to your Polish grandmother with flowers and some sweets. A child would create a homemade gift, usually a card or a DIY craft product. Grandfather's day is celebrated on January 22nd.

Some schools take the time to dedicate the whole day to a Polish babcia, by creating a special school event (a play for, example) or by helping children create their own presents. There are also numerous songs and rhymes that they sing or write down - or are motivated to create their own! Here is one you can use if you are thinking of celebrating the upcoming Grandmother's Day:

In Polish:

  • Wesołe słońce wesoło patrzy
  • i ciepły uśmiech posyła babci.
  • I ja też, Babciu, mam dziś dla Ciebie
  • uśmiech jak słonko jasne na niebie.

In English:

  • By the happy warmth's of the happy Sun,
  • Grandma is sent a warm smile,
  • And I too, dear Grandma, have for you,
  • A smile as bright as the Sun in the sky.

POLISH AMERICAN GRANDMOTHER

There are some funny stereotypes about having a Polish grandmother, and having a granny in Polish families is always fun! They are more apparent in the Polish-American surroundings as they might seem quite uncommon, be you will discover you find most of them synonymous with all caring grandmothers.

  • Your Polish grandma will tell you to put on a jacket: even if it's the middle of the summer. God forbid you catch a cold!
  • To a Polish grandmother, a sneeze is a sign that you should get in bed, call off all your engagements and rest for days until you get better. A sneeze to Babcia means you are ill!
  • Your Polish grandma will always make you wear slippers. This helps prevent you from catching a cold.
  • Your Polish grandmother will always fear that you are going around hungry. For her, you are always too skinny. DOn't even try to leave the table until you clean your plate up when you visit her.
  • She will have a meal ready for you regardless if you are hungry or not and will send you home with enough leftovers for days.
  • Your Polish grandma will tell you that you don't call her enough even if you talk to each other twice a day.

Your grandma is Polish? Never mind, now that you know a little bit more about Polish grandmothers, that you can appreciate your own Babcia more - well, even if you're not Polish. Be thankful for having them in your life and make sure that one day your grandchildren will love you so - and maybe choose a cool gift from our shop to celebrate your Polish granny!

3 Responses

Betty Jo
Betty Jo

September 13, 2022

My father was polish, his parents germany-born of polish parents….My father’s parents came here in the early 1900s, and all seven of us kids called his parents Busia & Dziadzia.

Fast-forward to today. I am half-polish and from my mother I have PA Dutch, English, Irish & Indian. My son’s father is Irish. My son married a black woman. My second husband is half mexican and half slovak.

So, now – my beautiful, half-black granddaughter (Maddie O’Brien) calls us Busia & Dziadzia Diaz.

I love our diversity – and I hope you got a chuckle :-)

Joan Stanton
Joan Stanton

November 04, 2021

Love this article. What is the “well-known doll” you referred to? p.s. my Gramma was Bohemian.

Robert Orlik
Robert Orlik

November 08, 2020

You said to leave a comment about grandma’s. Pretty popular here in Chicago we call Gramma (Busia). Not everyone but, quite commonly this is heard around town. I’m polish but my parents never taught me any polish but a few words. 😉

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