Anna Szumańska, Szkoła Podstawowa im. Józefa Marka w Tymbarku
WIGILIA (Polish pronunciation: [viˈɡilja]) is the traditional Christmas Eve vigil supper, held on December 24. The term is also often extended to the whole day of the Christmas Eve, extending further into the midnight Mass held at Roman Catholic churches all over Poland at midnight preceding the Christmas Day. The feasting traditionally begins once the First Star has been sighted (usually by children) in the heavens at dusk (around 5 p.m.). Therefore Christmas is also sometimes called "Gwiazdka" (the little star, referring to the Star of Bethlehem).
HOW DO WE CELEBRATECHRISTMAS EVE IN POLAND? THE FIRST STAR PRAYERS, READINGS FROM THE BIBLE CHRISTMAS WISHES BREAKING THE CHRISTMAS WAFER (OPŁATEK) CHRISTMAS EVE SUPPER CHRISTMAS CAROLS, PRESENTS MIDNIGHT MASS/ SHEPHERD’S MASS
In Poland, Christmas Eve suppers start at the appearance of the first star. Probably done so in memory of the star of Bethlehem, which according to the Evangelist, Saint Matthew. This custom was and still is deeply rooted in Polish culture. Ewa Kalita, Szkoła Podstawowa im. R.Gila, Świętoszówka
The holy waferOn Christmas Eve when the firststar apears in the sky, people takeseats at the Christmas table.Before the family starts eating,all its members share the holywafer and offer good wishes. It isthe most important and mosttouching moment. The wafers arewhite and ornamented withpictures.The name "wafer" is derived fromthe Latin word "oblatum". Renata Woźnicka, Szkoła Podstawowa nr 10 Piotrków Trybunalski Ewa Kalita, Szkoła Podstawowa im. R.Gila, Świętoszówka
Obrus wigilijny wedle tradycji powinien być biały. Ma onprzypominać ołtarz i pieluszki Pana. Sianko pod obrusemprzypomina , że Jezus urodził się w ubóstwie, na sianie. Christmas Tablecloth, according to tradition, should be white. It aims to remind the altar of the Lord and diapers. Hay under the tablecloth reminds that Jesus was born in poverty, in the hayIwona Kowalczyk-Rybczyńska, Szkoła Podstawowa im.Ryszarda Wyrzykowskiego w Bełdowie
There is a tradition in many homesthat an empty place setting issymbolically left at the table for alonely wanderer who may be inneed of food, or if a deceasedrelative should come and wouldlike to share in the meal. This is toremind us that Mary and Josephwere also looking for shelter. Marta Kaczmarek, Gimnazjum nr 1 w Szczańcu
The traditional Christmas Eve supper consists of twelve dishesrepresenting the twelve months of the year or Twelve Apostoles.The Eve table is covered by white tablecloth under which wefind a hay. No meat is served during the supper! Monika Szmygiel, Zespół Szkół w Zalewie
Christmas foodFried carp provides amain component of theChristmas Eve mealacross Poland Other traditional dishes appearing on the table include red borscht with small dumplimgs
Boiled or fried „pierogi” Honey CakeOn the Christmas Eve table we also find mushroom or fish soup,sauerkraut with wild mushrooms or peas, dried fruit compote and kutia,a dessert especially popular in eastern Poland.
The Polish Santa is named „Mikolaj” or St. Nicholas. In some regions of Poland he is named Gwiazdor. Children write letters with their wishes to Santa a few weeks before Christmas and receive presents from him on December 24th.Daria Kowalczyk, Szkoła Podstawowa nr 25 z Oddziałami Integracyjnymi im. H.Ch. Andersena wOlsztynie
The custom of decorating the Christmas tree came to Poland at the turmof the XVIII and XIX century from Germany. The spruce is the mostpopular Christmas tree in Poland.Before Christmas time, in every home there are natural or plasticChristmas trees. We decorate them by glass balls, ligts and otherhandmade decorations.A lot of Polish people love sitting with family near the Christmas tree.Than we listen and sing Christmas carols. It is magic time for children andall families.Now, the Christmas tree is one of the most popular sign ofChristmas time. Marzena Kurstak, Przedszkole Samorządowe w Kolnie z filiami w Bęsi i Lutrach
Earlier, the Christmas trees were decorated on Christmas Eve. There were many various decorations and each of them have different meanings, e.g. apples- the symbol of health and beauty, nuts- the symbol of prosperity, gingerbreads- the symbol of abudance in the next year, wafers- mean love and harmony in family, bells- mean good news and cheerful events in family, angels- protection home and all family. glass balls and lihgts- protect houses from demons and bad peoples.
Every year children wait for Christmas tree. They prepare many decorations– chains, birds, stars. Children know, that under the Christmas tree they willfind gifts form Santa Claus.Children love Christmas time and love decorating the Christmas trees. Weprepare decorations with children and their parents in our kindergarten andmeet all together.
The nativity play presents one of themost important events for allChristians: the birth of a Son of GodJesus Christ. In general the plotstarts when Joseph and Maria lookfor a place to rest, then Maria givesbirth in a stable and shepherds andthree kings visit the small Jesus. It isperformed in many schools andchurches just before Christmas Eveor during Chrstmas time.Schoolchildren in costume act as thehuman and angel characters Magdalena Mioduszewska, Szkoła Podstawowa im.St.Milewskiego w Gąsocinie
Polish Christmas Eve in the past used to be a mixture of Pagan and Christian customs. Here are some of them:• It was believed that on that day people and the dead met. People didn’t use sharp tools because they didn’t want to hurt ghosts. At the table there was a spare plate for them.• Carolers (“połaźnicy”) wandered from house to house with a star and Christmas cradle wishing people all the best and demanding gifts for that.Monika Grzędzicka, Junior High School in Wielgie
There were many beliefs connected with health. If someone sneezed, they were healthy all year. People washed before dinner in order not to have ulcers, the water was taken out of the house. After the morning prayer you had to rub garlic In your teeth because they didn’t hurt the following year. The same result was achieved by eating turnip. If you ate apples, you didn’t have sore throat, and nuts made your teeth stronger. People also put something iron under the table and put legs on it to have them healthy and not to have them cut by thorns. Another belief was that at that Night The Earth opened and showed the treasures it had inside. In the forest ferns bloomed, fruit-trees gave fruit, forest animals and bees woke up – all that to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Animals could also speak human voice.
People used to decorate their house with sheaves of hay, straw or crops. They used to be placed in the corner of the chamber, under the ceiling, on the floor or under the table. Hay was also put on the table under a white tablecloth. Instead of a Christmas tree, people had pine, spruce or fir branches used to decorate door, a fence, a barn or saint pictures at home. The branches cut early in the morning were used to make so called divine tree (“podłaźnik”). It was decorated with apples, nuts, straw chains, wafer and flax seeds. The divine tree was magical and the more beautiful it was, the more happiness it brought. Its leftovers were kept to avoid bad spells.
In order to be happy and full of energy the following year you had to get up early, and you had to throw a silver coin to the water to have money all the time. Inadvisable was lying down in bed during the day, because it would "attract" a disease. You couldn’t lend or give anything to your neighbours because you might suffer a loss the next year. At Christmas people never argued and even tried to make up with the worst enemies. They tried to be happy and nice to each other. It has never changed.
Christmas cards The Christmas calls for a joyous celebration. It is a time ofhappiness and merriment. It is a time when friends and familyspend happy times with each other. The first Christmas card was in 1842 by a sixteen-year-oldartist William Mew Wgley, but his idea was not appreciated bythe recipient.Sending holiday wishes on special cards becamepopular around the world in the twenties (of the twentiethcentury). In Poland, Christmas cards appeard in the latenineteenth century. Today Christmas cards are still a popularway to communicate between friends and family and betweenbusiness associates. There are a number of different styles of Christmas cardsand they all have their roots in traditional holidays. Grażyna Skowronek, Publiczna Szkoła Podstawowa w Runowie
Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia!!! Merry Christmas!
Anna Szumańska, Szkoła Podstawowa im. Józefa Marka w Tymbarku Marzena Kurstak, Przedszkole Samorządowe w Kolnie z filiami w Bęsi i Lutrach Grażyna Skowronek, Publiczna Szkoła Podstawowa w Runowie Monika Szmygiel, Zespół Szkół w Zalewie Daria Kowalczyk, Szkoła Podstawowa nr 25 z Oddziałami Integracyjnymi im. H.Ch. Andersena, OLSZTYN Ewa Kalita, Szkoła Podstawowa im. R.Gila, Świętoszówka Marta Kaczmarek, Gimnazjum nr 1 w Szczańcu Iwona Kowalczyk-Rybczyńska, Szkoła Podstawowa im.Ryszarda Wyrzykowskiego w Bełdowie Magdalena Mioduszewska, Szkoła Podstawowa im.St.Milewskiego w Gąsocinie Renata Woźnicka, Szkoła Podstawowa nr 10 Piotrków Trybunalski Monika Grzędzicka, Junior High School in Wielgie