December 24th is one of the most important evenings in Polish Culture.
It is a night where spirituality, faith, magic and whimsy collide; awakening the mind, body and soul.
Christmas Eve is the moment where weeks of advanced preparation send heavenly kitchen aromas throughout the freshly cleaned house, stimulating a watch for the first evening star in the sky – indicating the Christmas Wigilia (Christmas Eve Vigil Supper) is ready to be served.
As a family, we gather together at a beautifully set table accentuated with:
- A pure white table cloth – representing the purity of Jesus
- Hay or straw beneath the white cloth, reminding us of where Jesus was born
- Opłatek – a thin wafer to be shared amongst members of the table
- A vacant chair and place setting, in preparation of an unexpected visitor’s arrival
Together we break bread (opłatek), wishing one another happiness, joy, health and prosperity for the year to come.
A traditional Polish Wigilia consists of a 12-7 course meal, with no meat. Our family being a mix of both Polish culture and Irish-Scots decent opts for variation meal– complete with turkey, but not missing the traditional delicious basics!
After dinner, we gather and head to mass. Here we sing traditional Carols (kolędy), bump into acquaintances and prepare for the continuation of Christmas Celebrations… which include opening presents and merriment (vodka).
Checklist, for your Perfect Polish Christmas Table:
- Polish Pottery or Stoneware
- White Table Cloth or runner
- Hay or Straw (Thank you so much to Susie for always helping our family with this)
- Kolędy for dinner music (For the merriment later on, I love GOLEC uORKIESTRA – especially their version of Wsród nocnej ciszy)
- Extra Place Setting
From my Family to yours, Merry Christmas – Wesołych Świąt!
xo – Alex