Christmas in Poland
All over Poland, Christmas celebrations look similar. It comes from the old traditions of our ancestors, which still apply more or less in our homes at the same time.
Before I go to the Polish Christmas tradition, I will devote a moment to beautiful Christmas markets. These fairs are not strictly Polish tradition. However, every year they are becoming more and more popular. In many Polish cities, almost a month before the holidays in the area or in the city center, we can find Christmas stalls, beautifully decorated with Christmas decorations.
Additionally, during Christmas shopping, we can warm ourselves with mulled wine and some warm snacks. There you will find things that you can decorate the holiday table with. Everything is handmade by local artists. In addition to stalls with Christmas gifts, we can also try local cuisine. Depending on what region of Poland we are in, the food will be slightly different. All this is often accompanied by concerts with carols – the magic of the upcoming holidays accompanies us everywhere, and so until Christmas Eve.
First of all Christmas Eve in Poland belongs to very family events. Usually all relatives and friends are sitting together at the table. The table is beautifully laid with candles and there is hay under the tablecloth. At the table there is always one empty dishes. This is one of the traditions that has existed for a very long time. This place is prepared for instance for a lost wanderer.
However, before we sit at the table, in many homes a fragment of the Bible is read, then people gather and, make wishes and share with opłatek. We can also meet the same tradition in Slovakia, Lithuania, Belarus and Italy. Some time ago, everyone was waiting with Christmas Eve dinner until the first star shines – a reference to the Bethlehem star. Today, not so much is being observed.
Most importantly there’re twelve dishes are a typical Polish tradition. The most common is carp – fish that are prepared in different ways, dumplings reign in many homes, of course without meat. We eat them with cabbage and mushrooms. When it comes to the typical beverage that we drink to Christmas dinner is dried fruit compote. Soups, of course, borscht with dumplings is the most popular, also mushroom soup, fish soup.
After dinner, a vegetable salad with mayonnaise appears on the table, without which most Poles cannot imagine Christmas. After Christmas Eve, of course, it’s time for presents, you can find them under the Christmas tree. Around 12 pm most families go to church at midnight mass. Mostly it is a favorite moment for children because they can sing carols together.
In conclusion, Christmas in Poland is very family. The first and second days of Christmas are spent with your loved ones. The poor are also remembered in many Polish cities. For example, in Krakow a few days before 24/12 a Christmas Eve is organized on the Krakow Market for the poorest. That is a big event that has been repeated for several years.