Christmas in Poland

To my International Readers



Polish customs at Christmas time are beautiful
Here are six of the most important traditions:

1. OPLATEK. Before sitting down at the table, everyone breaks the traditional wafer, or Oplatek and exchanges good wishes for health, wealth and happiness in the New Year. For many it is a deeply moving moment. Oplatek is a thin, unleavened wafer similar to the altar bread in the Roman Catholic Church. It is stamped with figures of of baby Jesus, Mary and angels. The wafer is known as the bread of love and is often sent by mail to the absent members of the family.

2. AN EXTRA PLACE. A lighted candle in the window symbolizes hope that Jesus, in the form of a stranger, will come to share the Wigilia. Hence an extra place is set at the table for this hoped for guest. This belief stems from the ancient Polish proverb, „A guest in the home is God in the home.”

3. WIGILIA is a meatless meal […] Traditionally served  dishes include mushroom soup, boiled potatoes, pickled herring, fried fish, pierogi (dumplings,) beans and sauerkraut, a dried fruit compote, […], assorted pastries, nuts and candies.

4. GIFTS. After the meal family members sing Christmas Carols called koledy. Christmas gifts are exchanged that evening.

5. CHRISTMAS CAROLS […] Polish Christmas Carols or koledy are numerous and lovely. They are performed beautifully in Polish churches as part of the Christmas Eve Mass. 

6. PASTERKA. Christmas Eve Mass is called  Pasterka, which means Shepherds Watch, and there is popular belief in Poland that while the congregation is praying, peace descends on the snow-clad, sleeping earth and that during that holy night, the humble companions of men – domestic animals – speak with human voices. But only the innocent  of  heart may hear them.

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15 komentarzy

Filed under Rok Polski / The Polish Year, Tajemnice / Secrets

15 responses to “Christmas in Poland

  1. This is beautiful, Wanda. Poland has a very rich Christmas tradition. I love the concept of keeping candle by the window, the meatless meal, and the carols. Thanks for sharing and happy Christmas to you. I bet you can sing very well.

  2. WM

    Thank you, very much, Uzoma, for your nice words and wishes. I am trying to be a good singer🙂 Wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy, Creative, Healthy New Year!

  3. Thank you, and I wish you a very happy Christmas too, and the best for the next year.

  4. Oj, tyle nostalgi za polska Wigilia….dzieki, Pani Wando

  5. Happy Christmas and a inspirational New Year.

  6. trochę spłycono pojęcie wigilii do kilkudaniowej potrawy zapominając o wielowątkowości całego tego wieczoru zawierającej pozostałe 5 powyżej definiowanych pojęć.
    u mnie w domu w wigilię było jeszcze „czekanie na pierwszą gwiazdkę” oraz poprzedzający wieczerzę post tego dnia a w święta cudnie było odwiedzać szopki w różnych kościołach, które swoimi kolorami i magią pomagały zapomnieć o szarej rzeczywistości.

  7. Beautiful Christmas tradition, I really like the first Christmas carol is the most beautiful thing I’ve heard lately, I’m glad I found you … Thanks and all the best from Romania.


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