Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of people. It’s also the time of year that brings back so many memories of some of the best and richest moments we’ve ever had with our families and friends. Whether it goes back to our time as young boys or girls or adults, the Christmas season holds a bounty of life experiences that most of us treasure all our lives.
For Poles, Christmas is an especially meaningful time, and its impact has immeasurably shaped Polish life and culture.
Take for example all that happens in the course of a single day in the life of a Polish family, starting on Christmas Eve. It begins with the preparations for the Wigilia dinner after a day of fasting. A child would be on watch for the first star in the sky, Gwiazdka (The Little Star). Once the star was seen, the Wigilia could begin. Sometimes hay was underneath the tablecloth, remembering Christ’s birth in a stable.
The meal begins with the breaking of the Opłatek (The Angel’s Bread), saying of a prayer, with a portion of the bread going to each person. A pink piece of Opłatek goes to the animals, as a reminder that even the animals or pets are God’s creatures. Next is the Wigilia meal, a meatless wonder of 9 to 12 courses.
After the meal, it’s time for singing the Polish Christmas Carols (Kolędy), followed by opening of the presents.
Polish Christmas Carols are something special, for their beauty, and for their ability to separate you from the worldly to the Divine. Enjoy those here on this website or seek them out wherever you wish, and may you have a Blessed Christmas.