In Poland special attention is paid to Christmas. People start to think about it in early November and prepare very carefully.
There are many special traditions associated with Christmas:
- The Christmas tree is decorated on Christmas Eve. A typical Polish Christmas tree is colourful and adorned with handmade decorations.
- Santa Claus puts the gifts under the Christmas tree.
- The most important day of Christmas is Christmas Eve which takes place on the 24th of December. On this day families get together to eat a traditional Christmas Eve dinner. The dinner starts when the first star can be seen on the sky.
- We put hay under the tablecloth.
- On the table there are 12 dishes - they are meant to give you good luck for the next 12 months. For Catholics the 12 dishes symbolize Jesus's 12 apostles.
- There should be an empty place at the table for unannounced guest.
- Before dinner at home we break the Christmas wafer and wish all the best to each other.
- When we finish dinner we sing together Christmas carols.
- Christmas Eve is finished by going to Church for a Midnight Mass.
- We spend Christmas day, December 25th, with our families and on Boxing Day we visit our relatives or friends.
- After Christmas schools and churches organize nativity play. Children usually play in this show. They dress up and act out the birth of Christ. Before the show kids sing carols.
Polish Christmas is the most beautiful. It is about peace and forgiveness. This special atmosphere makes us wait for Christmas with some impatience. For most people it is their favorite festival.