Polish Christmas Traditions

In the churches there are installed beautiful cribs, while under the open sky live cribs with real animals are popular in many cities, which refer to the nativity scenes initiated by Saint Francis of Assisi.

When the first star shines in the sky on December 24, it’s a sign that the Christmas Eve supper may start. It begins with reading a fragment of the Holy Scriptures about the birth of Jesus, then carols are sung, and furthermore the participants share the Christmas wafer. The sharing of the wafer is accompanied by the making of wishes, after which everyone sits down to supper.

During the Christmas Eve supper the table is covered with the white cloth, under which some hay is put as a sign that Jesus was born in a stable. There should be one empty place for an unexpected guest. According to the tradition, there should be twelve Christmas Eve dishes, among which the most characteristic are sauerkraut, red borscht, dumplings with cabbage and mushrooms and of course carp.

After the Christmas Eve supper whole families go to the church to the Midnight Mass to rejoice at the birth of the Son of God.

The second day of Christmas remembers St. Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity. On this days families and friends meet at the Christmas dinner. They also visit Christmas cribs in churches and on the city squares, while in many places there is also a custom of wandering carollers who go from house to house singing Christmas carols.

Source —> episkopat.pl: Polish Christmas Traditions