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Christmas Customs

Written by Magdalena Buczek, 6 years ago, 0 Comments

by: Magdalena Buczek
Polish Customs, especially at Christmas time, are both beautiful and meaningful. One of my most memorable traditions during Christmas Eve in Poland is when the whole family gathers and waits impatiently for the appearance of the first star. The first glow of the star signals that the Wigilia festivities can start. Wigilia comes from the Latin word "vigilare" which means to wait. Early in the day, family starts preparing the meal, which traditionally consists of twelve meatless dishes, and includes many kinds of fish, beet or mushroom soup, various dishes made from cabbage, mushrooms, or potatoes, pierogi, followed by dried fruit compote and pastries for dessert.
While the meal is being cooked the family decorates the Christmas tree and sets the table. An extra place setting is added in memory of those who are not able to join the family for Wigilia. When the first star, appears in the night sky, the meal can finally begin. A prayer is said first and then the family members share the oplatek and exchange wishes.