Christmas in Poland

Christmas in Poland

Everyone loves Christmas. It is the favorite and most eagerly awaited holiday in the year. This is a unique time when people try to be kind, friendly and gerenous to one another. They seem to forget all their problems, quarrels and just enjoy being together.

Christmas is preceded by many days of preparation. Streets are lit by coloured lamps, shops are full of people buying presents, choosing Christmas cards, Christmas trees are set up in every home and decorated with Christmas ornaments, candles, chains, toys and trinkets. The atmosphere of excitement and expectation can be felt almost everywhere.  

The day preceding - Christmes Eve is a unique one. It is believed that everything that might happen on it might influence the whole year to come. Much attention, for instance, is paid to the person who first enters the house and if it is a man, he ensures welfare to all members of the family. Some people say that if you ask for food on that day, you will be hungry throughout  the year.

The moment everyone waits for is when the first star appears in the sky, then people take seats at the Christmas table. They do not forget about leaving an empty place for an unexpected guest. The table is covered with white tablecloth and hay is spread on it.

  

Another custom is the numer of dishes. Traditonally there should be twelve of them and they must all be tasted. The most popular dishes are red borsch, pies or sour cabbage with mushrooms, fish (usually carp) and poppy-seed cake. Before the family starts eating, all its members share the holy wafer. There is also a custom of giving presents and everyone may find something nice under the Christmas tree.

At midnight many people go to the church to attend a special mass during which Christmas carols are sung. This night is miraculous because it is believed that animals can speak with human voices.

The first day of Christmas, 25th December, is usually spent at home. Work is forbidden. It is believed that washing hands with silver coins in the morning may bring money. On that day carol-singers dressed as an angel, a devil, King Herod or Death visit people‘s houses. They sing carols and play various scenes from the Bible. The second day of Christmas is spent in a different way. People pay and receive visits, spend much time at the table talking or singing carols. From that day the Carnival begins.

Christmas for Polish people is not only the yearly celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ but also the most familiar, traditional and joyful time of happiness and reconciliation. The birth of Jesus Christ is regarded as kind of symbol which heralds the days of peace and love.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Silent night

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light;
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

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