Polish Christmas Eve traditions – counting down to Christmas – day 6
I have very nice memories related to the 6th of December. In Poland, the day is called Mikolajki and that means that you will get a lot of candies! In my family, we would find them in our shoes early in the morning. Some of my friends would get them in big socks hanging by the windows. I remember racing on the stairs with my brother, to see who gets what. Just to find out we got the same things.
Let me tell you more about Christmas Eve traditions in Poland.
The day is very busy with Christmas preparations, but the entire home smells amazing. In my family, we have a tradition of making gingerbread cake from a recipe that requires you to make the cake two weeks before you bake it. Actually my mom told me today that she has already done the cake for this years celebrations.
2. The Christmas dinner starts when you see the first star on the sky
That is when the whole family gathers and celebrate Christmas by the fully stuffed table, but we will come to that one. The Christmas starts at the time when you can notice the first star on the sky, which is usually around 5 to 6 p.m.
3. Before sitting down for the dinner, we share communion wafer
The communion wafer is made out of flour and water and it has small painting on it with religious figures. We break it and exchange it with each others while telling wishes for the next year.
4. We hang a mistletoe
Which is always a good idea if you want to kiss someone without a really good reason.
5. There is dry hay under the white tablecloth
After the dinner and for fun each person pulls one hay to see if the next year will be without problems (long and straight) or problematic (short and curvy).
6. Traditionally, there are 12 different dishes on the table
Food from water, garden, forest, orchard. All without meat. My boyfriend (meat lover) always threatens that he will find a pizza place, but in the end he eats all of the different kinds of fish. Oh yeah, my family lives in a small town that does not have a pizza place. Trying all 12 dishes guarantees that you will have good luck in upcoming year.
7. The table is set with one empty space for an unexpected guest
It could be for example for a person, who doesn’t have anyone to spend the Christmas Eve with.
8. Gifts are opened after the Christmas dinner
We put the gifts under the Christmas tree. I remember that some years ago it required some good planning from adults, since me and my cousins were waiting in the room for hours to catch Santa putting the gifts. But letting us know that there is a warm cake in the kitchen helped with delivering presents under the tree.
9. If you can stay up long enough, you can go to the church and sing Christmas carols at 12 p.m.
There is usually a lot of people and performances of choir members.
What is your favourite tradition during Christmas Eve that you spend with your family?