Wesołych Świąt! - Christmas Celebrations in Poland

Christmas Special - Poland - 24 Dec 2015
How Poland celebrates the winter holidays. by Markus Bingel
Catholic tradition

Poland is a country with more than 90% of the population being catholic. Catholic Christmas traditions highly influence the way the Poles celebrate Christmas. One of the Catholic traditions is the sharing of a wafer at Christmas Eve.

The whole family gathers around a table to share the wafer and to wish everyone Wesolych Swiat (Happy Holidays). Before that, the whole family looks through the window until the first star can be seen in the sky. This is traditionally the moment when Polish families start celebrating Christmas.
After sharing the wafer, the family sits at the table where there is always one empty chair, in case unexpected guests or poor people would like to join the dinner. Polish people don´t eat meat on Christmas Eve, but carp and soup are very likely to be found on a Polish plate that night.

Often, the mother cooks Bigos, a Polish mix of Sauerkraut and other vegetables. A traditional Christmas Bigos has to be cooked for seven days! It is very important, that there are exactly twelve different dishes on the table and it would be impossible to mention all the fine Polish dishes here.

Carp scales for luck and money

In Poland traditional Catholic and modern traditions mix up like maybe nowhere else in the world. After eating the carp, many take some of the fish scales and put them in their wallets, so they will serve as a magnet to money during the next year.

After dinner the children are allowed to look under their plate, where their parents often hide coins for them. After dinner the children receive small presents and koledy, traditional Polish Christmas carols, are sung.
On the 25th of December the whole family stays at home and eats the remaining of the last night, which can be quite a large amount of food. The Second day of Christmas is usually being used to visit neighbours, relatives or dear friends.

The Polish national staff, just like the whole Team of Cosmopublic.eu, would like to thank all of our readers for their interest in and support of our work and wish you and your close ones a Merry Christmas, a happy festive season and a healthy and successful year 2015!

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