Regionalism is a social and cultural movement trying to preserve the specific characteristics of culture in particular areas, to renew and promote it. At present, the term „regionalism” means an interest in the distinct culture of different regions of Poland, e. g. Podhale, Podlasie, Kaszuby etc. The term appeared for the first time in Poland in 1923. It was used by Stefan Żeromski in his book „Snobizm i postęp”. The writer made a great appeal to defend the disappearing monuments of the Polish past and treasures of folk culture. Małopolska is a region of our country where many cultures and numerous communities meet. In Małopolska many curtural regions and ethnographic groups have developed with their own cultural areas. In Małopolska, tradition and regionalism are deeply rooted in everyday life of every family, especially families living in small towns or rural families. In a family, the child acquires certain patterns of behavior, systems of values, norms, rejects or accepts certain authorities as well as customs and habits. The family respects the history of the homeland, individual and family biographies, local heroes, dialect, natural environment, musical traditions. A special form of expressing the regional and unique culture is the tradition and custom upheld to this day. It could seem that today’s modern civilization will cease the care of Małopolska’s magnificent customs. And yet not! In the Małopolska’s calendar almost every day in individual regions inhabitants celebrate important customs for them. Almost every week there are promotional regional events where we can meet directly with culture. We can even touch or taste the history passed down from a generation to generation. An irreplaceable organization that passes the values on to young people in rural areas is KGW„Koło Gospodyń Wiejskich” (the organisation of rural housewives). The first Koło Gospodyń Wiejskich (KGW) was created more than 140 years ago as a women’s initiative. Since 1918 the organizations of rural women in Poland have adopted the common name „Koło Gospodyń Wiejskich”, they use it up to this day and the abbreviation KGW is recognizable as the best brand. The times have changed, the political and economic reality has changed too and the women of „Koło Gospodyń Wiejskich” in their wisdom regardless of the winds of history have always found their place and purpose – the socially necessary noble activity for their environment for the benefit of another person. In a difficult time when self-governance began to create, women made very ambitious tasks.
They were based on the inner needs of society and were carried out in a conscious way. It is not surprising that it was directed by people enjoying respect and trust. At that time, ladies organized training courses, shows and courses with a wide range of topics including baking and cooking, meat and fruit processing, poultry breeding, vegetable gardening, hygiene and rational diet, sewing and lectures about the role of women in the society. Dance parties and competitions were organized. These social activities of KGW were stopped by the outbreak of World War II. After the war, women’s organizations resumed their activities. Housekeepers continued to host evening and dance parties but they were some income-generating events thanks to which KGW provided their clubs with tableware, cutlery and various kitchen appliances. The equipment served women to organize local events and at the same time was lent to the villagers for the service and preparation of family events. In recent years there has been an increase in activity of the KGW. Increasingly new organisations are being established. Rural women do this because they notice the cultural and social achievements of their mothers and grandmothers. Nowthey are aware of the increased opportunities for village renewal and the activation of rural society. In many small towns KGW is the first and sometimes the only form of social activity. They are no longer few ladies gathered at a table and singing folk songs. Their activities focus on preserving local traditions, cultural continuity, customs. In Limanowa County there are also very active organisations of Koło Gospodyń Wiejskich – it is a kind of volcano’s energy and extraordinary talents. They spread the knowledge of the region’s heritage, preserve tradition, preserve from forgetting everything that is worth passing to younger generations while developing the sense of local identity. The most important thing is that they fantastically activate the local environment. The housewives from KGW take part in various types of competitions, reviews, church and state ceremonies giving a chance to taste all those wonderful meals that have been prepared by mothers and grandmothers for years. The real taste of bread, the smell of hand-made sausage products, “kwaśnica|” soup, dumplings, cakes and delicious taste of drinks and liqueurs stimulate the imagination and the extremely colorful folk costumes that housewives present allow to move to colourful pictures of the former Polish countryside.