Why don’t the Polish thank for „Good luck”?

If you ever try to wish a Pole „Good luck”, you may receive a very strange reply. Why?


How to wish „Good luck” in Polish? The phrase is „Powodzenia”. What’s the usual response? „Nie dziękuję” — „Not thank you”, „I’m not thanking”. The reason is very simple and can make you laugh.

The Polish are superstitious. Some of us believe that if we thank for this kind of wish, our life will be haunted by bad luck. For example, when a Polish student is taking an exam and he or she hears „Powodzenia”, he or she will respond with „Nie dziękuję” because they believe that otherwise they will fail.

Is it a thing of Poles or of the Polish language? The truth is: we reply this way even in other languages. You may hear „No(t) thank you”. So, I would say it’s a thing of the nation. So, when you hear „Powodzenia”, you don’t have to reply „Nie dziękuję”. You can reply „Dziękuję” (only if you are ready for the bad fortune). But you will probably be corrected that the right response is „Nie dziękuję”. You can mind if you want to.

Do all the Poles reply this way? No. But it’s definitely minority who don’t. I don’t. For me it’s just a silly superstition. And using it in different languages is really weird.

— Powodzenia na randce! Good luck on the date!
— Dzięki! Thanks!
— Nie dziękuj, bo pójdzie źle! Don’t thank because it will go wrong!

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The image comes from flickr.com.

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