Polish Language Blog

Polish Christmas Eve Celebrations – one more time Posted by on Dec 12, 2009 in Culture

Because I know that not everyone reads all the comments to all the posts, I took the liberty of “borrowing” two entries from the “Polish Christmas Eve Abroad” post and including them here, as I think they are great and everybody should see and read them. 🙂

The first one is from Kim in Boston, and I think it’s absolutely perfect what she does for Christmas. I wish I could duplicate her holiday dinner, but alas, in my current location it won’t be possible. Read on, this is brilliant:

“My husband is Polish, we live in Boston. I surprised him our second married Christmas with a Polish feast I had researched and cooked. We read the Christmas story from Luke. We do a reading about the importance and symbols of the Polish Christmas traditions then break the blessed wafer with any guests we have. I set an extra place at the table and place straw under the tablecloth. Like his family, we include meat and do a smaller variety of Polish dishes but with my own twist – mushroom/barley soup, several varieties of pierogi, meat filled cabbage rolls, prune stuffed pork roast, beet salad, kraut w/polish sausage, rye bread, fruitcake, chocolates and cookies.

On Christmas Eve we exchange a Polish gift – book, crystal, ornament…use our Polish names, listen to Polish music and so on. On Christmas day we have a traditional American Christmas with stockings and ham and turkey. We open the remainder of our gifts Christmas night.

We also began the tradition of inviting friends over for Sunday evening suppers during Advent for a “Polish Christmas Eve”. Everyone has loved it, in spite of my husbands family being offended – it’s not traditional and I’m not Polish and blah, blah, blah!”

Sadly, I don’t understand her husband’s family’s reaction, certainly not in the Christmas spirit. But that’s just goes to show you how fiercely protective Poles are when it comes to “their” traditions and customs.

The second entry is from Kaz in Malaysia (Malezja), and I also like what she does – a combination of Polish and tropical celebration:

“We do both, which is interesting in equatorial Malaysia! J, my Polish hubby, was adamant that we wouldn’t have wet tissue; i.e. carp! But it’s Christmas Eve dinner, Portuguese Eurasian food (roast chicken, curry, rice), salads, pates, mulled wine, fake fireplace. And we go truly international for dessert…NY baked cheesecake, crepes suzette. I should take photos, shouldn’t I? Oh, and we had Mikołaj with the kids, and are looking forward to post-breakfast Christmas Day for the family loot-swapping!”

Mary in the UK, on the other hand, is a very lucky lady, as she can have both – one year the full thing in Poland, and the next – a mixed English/Polish Christmas in the UK:

“We tend to do both when we’re in the UK and have more of a Polish Christmas when in Poland.
Oddly, I only do the church thing in the UK.
We don’t have the 12 dishes and the only person who’ll eat the fish with Mr K is my dad.
We do try to have different things each year through and people tend to enjoy it. Or they dsay they do anyway!

Presents are still a 25th thing as is the usual Christmas dinner (which I miss every other year.)
It does tend to spread things out because we see our extended family on the 26th!

So, that’s how we do it. It’s generally an amalgamation of traditions because neither of us wants the other to feel home sick.”

Ladies, thank you so much for all your comments and suggestions. They sure gave me something to go on. I still don’t know how exactly I’m going to go about it, but at least now I think it’s not as impossible as it had first sounded to me.
It’s been already decided however, that nasza Wigilia (our Christmas Eve) would be moved to Christmas Day, but other than that, if we pay no attention to the calendar, we should be fine.
Now I just need to figure out where to get opłatek. Hmmm…
P.S1. And forget about the fish. I can’t stand carp. Nienawidzę karpia.

and P.S2. And I think it’s safe if I say that I’m speaking for everybody here, Miss Kaz, we’re expecting photos of your polsko-malezyjskiej Wigilii!

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  1. kuba:

    PolArtCenter sells oplatek. And others on the internet.

  2. Lex Wadelski:

    It’s hard to get into the Polish Xmas spirit here in sunny warm Austin, Texas. Especially with a Cuban wife and her relatives.
    But I have consumed more sausage and sauerkraut this season than ever before.
    I was drawn to it especially during a recent spell of cold gray days. It reminded me of my birth home, Chicago, and my grandmother, who spoke only Polish.

  3. Michael:

    Kolęda’2009 Dzień Dobry TVN


    I think this is an ok song for Christmas.

  4. Kaz Augustin:

    Love your blog, Anna, so of course I’ll comply! 🙂

  5. C. Caswick:

    We do Wigila at my church (Eastern Orthodox christian) — so we have many Eastern-European nationalities as members. Everyone brings their own traditional meatless dish. We wait for the star, read scripture and pray. We serve oplatki with honey and raw garlic as the priest blesses our foreheads with honey and says as the bee loves honey, let us love each other. There is hay on the main table with icons and father passes wine around — we all take a sip. Then we eat buffet style. Some of the traditional dishes are salmon/rice, borscht, the American version of Halushki, grape leaves, perogi, vegetable soup. Dinner is followed by a shortened service.