I would like to share with the world some info about Christmas customs in Poland. I don’t celebrate each year like that, but all my family do. I want to show you some typical Christmas food and tell some more about things we Catholics do.
I am going to tell you about Christmas Eve’s dinner. The first rule says that it should consist of 12 different dishes, because we have that many months in the year or because there were twelve Apostles, and each participant of the ‘feast’ should try them all.
Christmas customs in Poland from the beginning:
Before we even start to eat there is a custom that we need to wait for the first star on the sky which is a symbol of the star of Bethlehem which guided Three Kings on the night when Christ was born. Usually we may start to look for it on the sky about 4 o’clock. Tradition says that on the Christmas Eve’s table should be always one free cover. Situated there in case of wayward wanderer or an unexpected visitor.
When the awaited star finally appears we sit down by the table and one member of the family reads a passage from the Bible. Then we take a special wafer and share it with everyone exchanging best wishes for an upcoming year.
Some families, especially from villages, put under the tablecloth some hay – before people placed in the corners of houses sheaves of hay and straw. This custom should ensure a good harvest in the coming year and it reminds the poor conditions in which Jesus came to the world.
Since few years the Catholic Church allows to eat meat on Christmas Eve, but Polish people are very traditional people and their tables are still dominated by fish.
Christmas customs in Poland require that on the table should appear dishes like:
- beetroot soup with ravioli
- dumplings (pierogi)
- sauerkraut-and-meat stew (bigos)
- “ryba po grecku”
- dried fruit compote
- cabbage with mushrooms
- Croquettes with sauerkraut
- Christmas Eve’s gingerbread
Finally after the dinner comes time to open gifts which where brought by Santa Claus to good children and adults 🙂 Hope that I helped you at least a little to understand what’s going on in Poland during Christmas.