19 Dec 2013

Christmas in Poland


The Christmas season in Poland starts with the end of Advent (Christmas Eve) and finishes with Candlemas on Feb. 2.


St. Nicholas Day


The saint visits children on the evening and through the night of his nameday. Apart from getting presents form their parents and relative, children are given presents from the local authorities, church and charity organizations.

In our school there is a custom to visit the city hospital, the social care house, kindergartens and sing carols with the people.


Christmas tree

The Christmas tree is usually brought to the house just a couple of days before Christmas. Usually it is up to the children to decorate the tree with long chains of colorful paper, tinkles and other ornaments. 


Wigilia

The Vigil For Poles, Christmas Eve is one of the most important days of the year. It is common belief that is a night of magic when animals are able to talk and people have the power to predict the future. It’s a time for families to gather and reconcile any differences, and to remember loved ones who died. On this day we prepare special supper and decorate the table. Straw or hay, a reminder of Christ’s birth in a stable, is placed under a white linen tablecloth, we share the blessed Communion-like wafers with wishes for good health and prosperity and put a spare plate for a weary stranger who happens to pass by. The supper starts when the first star appears in the sky. The Wigilia Meal is a meatless meal. In the past there were thirteen main dishes (representing the Apostles and Christ), but, these days it is not so common. Meals can vary from family to family but they usually include a special soup followed by fish (carp), vegetables, and dumplings with wild mushrooms. Typical dishes include Christmas Eve borscht with mushroom dumplings, carp, herring and noodles with poppyseed. Desserts might include nuts, tangerines, chocolates, poppyseed roll, fruit compote,. In eastern Poland they also have Kutia, a kind of gruel with cracked wheat and honey. At the end of supper, children and adults open their Christmas presents which are placed under the Christmas tree.  

The Vigil suppers are also organized in almost every workplace for the workers, for the poor people which are organized by Charity Institutions and almost in every city and village for the local people.

Christmas Days
During Christmas people gather together, sing carols, go to churches to pray and go out with their friends. On the 24/25th December People attend Midnight Mass known as “Pasterka” or Shepherds' Mass because they were the first to greet the Baby Jesus.

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