In 17 days people all over the world will celebrate Christmas according to their tradition. In Poland things are not all too different than elsewhere, but the so called Wigilia does have its special charm. On Christmas Eve people across this fascinating country will gather for caroling, presents, and a very special Christmas supper.
Just so you know, Polish people are famous for their hospitality, particularly during the holiday season. Can you envision a place where one of the biggest traditions is inviting strangers to dinner and festivities so that no one is alone at Christmas? Well, in Poland this sort of real caring is commonplace rather than a novelty. Let us reveal a bit about these wonderful traditions for you now.
The Symbolism of Predicting the Future
I am sitting here wondering why it is that we never thought of putting a patch of hay under our tablecloth, or just in the room, to symbolize where Jesus was born? Such simple, but particular things make Christmas for Polish people all the richer an experience obviously.
Just this simple placement of straws of hay adds so much – kids traditionally draw these straws from beneath the tablecloth, a sort of crystal ball projection of the future – green for success, black straws for bad luck, and so forth. I can see a bright future for those reading this who venture to Poland during Christmas – they find exactly the sort of Christmas tales are told about.
The Best of the Season – The Reality of Faith
As a “Black Fast” Wigilia is also a bit about sacrifice, partakers abstaining from eating meat on Christmas Eve. The festivities on Wigilia are supposed to officially begin just as the first star appears in the sky (the Gwiazdka). As you can imagine, literally everything about this celebration, this night, has meaning. The extra place set at the table, the twelve courses in the meal, Midnight Mass, the opening of the gifts, prayer, and not least of all the breaking of the Christmas wafer, Christmas in Poland is very special indeed.
Since the times of ancient Slavic tribesmen, the meal at the first sign of a star has been carried out in such a fashion here. Not so unlike the Christmas traditions elsewhere, but absolutely distinct in character as well, Wigilia in Poland is another extraordinary cultural and spiritual trait of an extraordinary people. In wishing you a Merry Christmas from around the world, we leave you with some images from Poland and the wonderful Wigilia supper. Best of all for the lucky traveler at this time, the true meaning of the season shines through brightly via traditional mediums – faith and kindness are shiny after all.