Christmas – Boże Narodzenie here in Poland :)

Midnight Mass, the Christmas Tree, carol singing, the giving of presents – these are all traditions which we have in Poland.

And what’s exactly?

Wigilia (Christmas Eve) Wigilia (pr. Veegeeleea) is the most sacred day in Poland’s yuletide calendar, culminating in the breaking of the ‘oplatek’ blessed wafer and sharing holiday wishes with loved ones, often a deeply emotional moment.

Christmas Day itself is spent in rest, prayer, and visits to various members of the family.

The central element of Wigilia (The Vigil) is a twelve course dinner without meat, the number of dishes symbolizing both the months of the year and the twelve apostles.  Items that would normally be included in a traditional Wigilia menu include mushroom soup, boiled potatoes (kartofle), pickled herring (sledzie), fried fish, pierogi, beans and sauerkraut (groch i kapusta), a dried fruit compote, babka, platek, assorted pastries, nuts and candies.

A lighted candle in the windows symbolizes the hope that the Godchild, in the form of a stranger, may come to share the Wigilia and an extra place is set at the table for the unexpected guest. This belief stems from the ancient Polish adage, “A guest in the home is God in the home.”

A dash of hay is placed on the table, recalling the manger, and the celebration begins when the first star appears in the sky.

Oplatek –  Before the banquet begins, pieces of  ‘oplatek’ are handed around, and prayers are said. Thoughts turn to those members of the family who are not present, and an intensely reflective atmosphere takes hold.

The tradition of oplatek took off during the nineteenth century when many Polish families were separated, most famously after waves of patriots were dispatched to Siberia for rising up against Russian rule. Blessed wafers were sent to relatives in exile and divided families held parallel observances. Although an oplatek is inexpensive today, they often come imprinted with beautiful seasonal imagery. In the countryside, farm animals are also given oplatek as it was they who first greeted the baby Jesus. On this night, it’s believed that the goodly animals talk in human voices.

Choinka (The Christmas Tree) we are very much attached to the Christmas tree tradition..

Pasterka (Midnight Mass) With all the banqueting and present-giving out of the way, most Poles head to church for Pasterka. Carols (Koledy) are sung before the mass itself begins, and the service is a spirited occasion that’s full of energy.

May Christ bless you with all the happiness and success you deserve! I wish you  Merry Christmas 🙂 !!!

   

there are pieces of my Christmas tree 🙂

 

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  1. December 31st, 2011
  2. June 19th, 2014

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