Things you may not have known about Polish Christmas:
1. The most important day for us is the 24th of December – Christmas Eve.
2. We spend three days of Christmas with our families mainly at Christmas feasts (24th-26th of December).
3. Polish children find their presents under Christmas trees on 24th of December after festive dinner. Sometimes even Santa Claus brings them himself! In the south of Poland children also receive gifts from Baby Jesus or an angel.
4. We start celebrating main Christmas feast when the first star appears at the sky on the 24th of December.
5. Our table has always white table cloth and underneath it some straw.
6. During Christmas period people sing carols and Polish carol singers have fancy dress’. They look like kings, angels, devils and so on.
7. Our main dishes for Christmas table include carp fish and dumplings and ‘bigos’ stewed dish made of sauerkraut and fresh cabbage, meat and mushrooms.
8. Before eating on Christmas Eve we share special Christmas wafer and we give Christmas wishes to each other.
9. On Christmas Eve we attend Midnight Masses in churches.
10. The 25th and 26th of December have the same significance for Polish families. There are bank holidays. Families gather together for festive dinners. These days are no longer lent in contrast to the 24th of December.
11. There are no Christmas puddings, mince pies or crackers but there are lots of gingerbread cookies, poppy seed cakes, apple pies and cheese cakes.
12. We don’t have Queens Speech but we have the President and Cardinal speeches.
13. If there is snow you will be able to see lots of sleigh rides called ‘Kulig”.