How is Christmas celebrated in the Poles?

Christmas in Poland: this is how Wigilia is celebrated

In Catholic Poland, Wigilia, Christmas Eve, is the most important family festival of the year. Many families celebrate Christmas in Poland by cultivating ancient traditions and customs. The focus is on Christmas dinner with the whole family.

Wigilia - the Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is called Wigilia in Poland. It is of particular importance for the predominantly Catholic population in Poland, as the Republic of Poland informs on its official Internet portal. According to an old popular belief, the course of this day is decisive for the entire next year. If the Wigilia family spends peacefully together, this will have a positive effect on the mood in the house in the future. According to traditional customs, it is all the more important that everything is well organized beforehand so that the housework is done before dawn. Every family therefore begins preparing for Holy Communion early in the morning.

The Polish Christmas Dinner

After dark, the whole family comes together for Christmas dinner. There is always one more place setting than necessary. This is intended on the one hand to remember the deceased, on the other hand it traditionally expresses hospitality for needy people knocking on the door by chance. Meal is preceded by prayer and the division of the consecrated wafer as a sign of friendship, love and peace. Everyone shares with everyone and wishes the others the fulfillment of all their desires.

Traditionally, the Christmas dinner consists of twelve dishes - based on the number of Christ's apostles and the months of the year. One of the Wigilia customs is that every family member should taste at least once of every dish in order to honor the fruits of the earth. After dinner, the presents are unwrapped and Christmas carols are often sung.

Christmas in Poland: traditions and customs

Christmas in Poland is associated with many other traditions and customs. This also includes a decoration made of fir or spruce branches, bundles of hay and straw. These represent a good harvest in the coming year. After the traditional Christmas dinner, many people put a fishbone or fish scale in their wallet. This custom is said to ensure future prosperity.

In rural areas at Christmas in Poland, disguised singers go from house to house, reciting Christmas carols and nativity plays. As a reward, they receive a little money, and in the past they often had a few goodies from the Christmas table.