Sunday, December 12, 2010


Wesolych Swiqt!    That is:  Merry Holidays!     We learned that today at a beautiful Polish Christmas event. We were invited to a Wigilia celebration at our church and it proved to be a very special evening.    We learned that the primary Christmas celebration in Poland is much different than in America, and that the focus is really on Christmas Eve.  The children received gifts on the Feast of St. Nicholas (Dec. 6), so Christmas morning doesn't take on the same present-frenzy we have here.    Our friend Lilianna informed us that for the Christmas Eve Wigilia dinner, Poles present 12 dishes, which represent the 12 apostles.   Fish is on the menu (no meat)  and there is always an empty seat left open at the table. Hay is laid underneath the white tablecloth, and a wafer, called an "Oplatek" is broken and shared.   Here we are, ready to make the rounds and share our oplatek with our new Polish friends!  This was all new to us, but we felt right at home.

The food was fantastic!   I wish I could describe the dishes by name, but all I know is there were many breads, soups, pierogies and nut rolls, and they were all made to perfection!  Photobucket

The evening was festive and fun-filled.    A wonderful Polish man named Tony shared the story of Szopka's (pictured here). It is a traditional Christmas Creche which originated in Krakow.

What a wonderful evening!    It was a time of singing, eating, and celebrating the beautiful Polish heritage.   Tonight we will go to bed with happy hearts and full bellies!   What a gift.


  1. You are lucky to have found a place to teach you all those great Polish traditions! When I first met my husband, I was so confused- Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve? You met Santa in person as a child and recited your prayers to him to get your gifts? No milk and cookies? No carrots for reindeer? No filled stockings? What is the bizarre white wafer we are now passing around? No Christmas Day dinner? Its interesting to see how different cultures celebrate the same thing. Sounds like you guys had a great time!

  2. What a wonderful night and a great way to learn about the Polish culture. We are adding the tradition of the opaltek this year as well. Our priest has Polish heritage and he gave every family in the parish an opaltek wafer and the story of the tradition. We are so excited to start adding Polish traditions to our Christmas celebrations.

  3. "The food was fantastic! I wish I could describe the dishes by name, but all I know is there were many breads, soups, pierogies and nut rolls, and they were all made to perfection!"

    Let me guess – these are typical Christmas Eve dishes: :-)

    - Barszcz z uszkami – Bortsch (Beetroot Soup) with small kind of like pierogies with mushrooms
    - Wild mushroom soup
    - Makowiec (Poppy Seeds Cake)
    - Kutia - Wheat with honey and poppyseed
    - Herrings
    - Carp (type of fish)
    - Pierogi (with sauerkraut and wild mushrooms, or with potatoes and onion)
    - Dried Fruit Kompot (traditional drink made of dried fruit)

  4. That sounds like a fantastic experience! How fun to learn so much about Polish culture and traditions. I am learning from your blog, thanks :)

  5. We celebrate with the Oplatek! I really like this tradition!! Merry Holidays!!!