My Polish Christmas Traditions - Wigilia

As I mentioned in one of my previous entries- today I will be sharing with you my Christmas traditions. My traditions are based on my Polish heritage. I was born in Poland and came to the United States when I was nine years old.  Much of the Polish Christmas traditions are based on Christianity since Catholic religion is a predominant religion in Poland.
In my family Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve. On Christmas eve the family gathers together for  "Wigilia" (the word comes from the Latin language "vigiliare" or "vigil" which means to watch or guard) it is a combination of Christmas supper, singing Christmas carols, exchanging wishes and opening gifts while awaiting the birth of baby Jesus. It is then followed by everyone attending the midnight mass.

For Wigilia we prepare 12 dishes which represent 12 apostles. For this meal we do not eat meat. Our Vigil Supper ensemble this year will include the following dishes: Fish (Salmon and Tilapia), Pierogi (different types Potato and Cheese, Cabbage and mushroom & Blueberry), Red Barszcz ( beat soup which is served with uszka), Uszka (small mushroom pierogi which go into the Red Barszcz soup)- Delicious!, Warm Carrots and Peas, Salatka Jarzynowa (which is a traditional vegetable salad that is served cold), Potatoes, Golabki (Stuffed cabbage with Rice mushrooms and onion) and Dried plum compote. We also include desserts of many kind for after the main courses.

Prior to sitting down to eat, each person shares "Oplatek" (wafer which is blessed with holy water) with everyone-we break off a piece of each others wafer while wishing good wishes to one another for a new beginning. There are also wafers that are designated to give to animals - it is said that on this day a miracle happens at midnight and animals speak a human language :) . I haven't heard my dogs speak just yet (or perhaps they weren't been loud enough.. hehe) but maybe this year I will ;-)
When setting up the table with all the beautiful dishes we also slip in a little hay under the table cloth- it is placed there to symbolize baby Jesus and him being born in a stable.
After wishing each other wishes we say a prayer and sit down to eat.
After this wonderful meal we open gifts while eating desserts and engage in other family activities..

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas in whatever fashion you celebrate it. May your Christmas be filled with warmth, love and peace.
 Love- Edyta


Red Barszcz with muszroom uszka

Oplatek - wafer

 Warszawa- A Christmas tree in the center of the city- Image via this Source

When speaking of Christmas and traditions it makes me think of the town that I grew up in Poland- Tarnow. Take a look here are a few current photos via this Source

Merry Christmas!!