Saturday, December 25, 2010


    Why is Christmas in Poland such a wonderful opportunity to learn about a rich country's religious traditions???  Because Poland has many terrific ways to celebrate Christmas, from the simple to the elaborate.  Like most of Europe, Poland's history as a Christian country stretches back across the ages.  The Polish people have always taken great pride in their religious fervor, and a a result, many beautiful churches (and many wonderful traditions) have been attributed to Polish Christianity.  Christmas, in particular, is a Polish favorite.  Whether you have the good fortune to spend the Christmas season in Poland or you'd just like to do some arm-chair traveling to this beautiful country, here are some Polish Christmas traditions that may or may not have caught your eye.
   SAY IT IN POLISH: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!  Different words, same meaning:  If you want to say "Merry Christmas" like they say it in Poland, try pronouncing "Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia"!  If you can pull this off, I guarantee you'll not only impress your hosts in Poland or abroad, you'll also be a certified master of languages!  Keep in mind the Polish words are often "not" pronounced the way the are spelled.  For example the city of "Lodz, was pronounced as "Woodch"!  And Krakow is not said as "Kra-cow".  It's usually "Krah-koff".  Polish words are very interesting!!


PARTAKE OF THE WIGILIA.  Christmas Eve is a very important part of the festivities: Wigilia (Christmas Eve dinner) holds its own pleasures when Christmastime arrives in Poland.  It's a deeply meaningful religious occasion where loved ones spend the night deep in appreciation for the coming holiday and its true meaning.  Polish Christians make sure work is done ahead of time; when Christmas Eve begins, the Wigilia meal starts.  The solemnness of the meal quickly changes to glee when the time comes for the "choinka", or presents!
   LOOK OUT FOR GWIAZDKA.  How exactly do Poles know when to partake of the delicious "Wigilia" Christmas Eve dinner?  By staring hopefully at the sky and waiting for the "Gwiadka", the first star that appears.  When the lucky person who witnesses the coming of the Gwiazdka heralds its arrival, everyone may eat.  Children especially love this part of the Christmas Eve tradition, but it is fun for adults also!  Gwiazdka literally means "little star".


 VISIT PASTERKA AND SING KOLEDY.  People in Poland, just like people all around the world, have specific beloved Christmas songs that are cherished during the holiday season.  These songs are known as "koledy" and will touch your soul in a way you never thought possible.  A great place to hear these songs is at the iconic Christmas Eve Mass, known in Poland as the Pasterka.
   WATCH A SHOPKY.  When Christmas Day itself arrives in Poland, it's heralded by merriment that culminates in a show known as "shopky".  If you have the good fortune to be spending Christmas in this beautiful country, you'll be able to wave to Polish boys who have good fun portraying a very grumpy King Herod, as they slip through towns to show off their singing skills.  The "shopky" is the puppet show the children create and staff.
ALL IN THE INITIALS: K.M.B.  During Christmastime the houses of Poland, seeking protection from any troubles the year may bring, are carefully marked with three letters, "K", "M", "B".  This is to represent the names of the wise men who visited the baby Jesus ("Kasper", is the spelling in Polish).  This is just one of many small yet holy traditions in Poland that make the holiday season so unique and beautiful.


BUY A BEAUTIFUL SZOPKA.  Want the perfect Christmas gift from Poland?  A Krakow Szopka (nativity scene) is an amazing piece that doubles as a creche and a lovely souvenir of royal proportions. Szopkas are unique because the basis for the scene is a model of one of Krakow's famous structures.  These are no small models!  Some tower far above the Christmas ornaments and decorative items we scatter around our homes.  Anyone who has been to Krakow or recognizes its famous historic churches will be able to tell which building is represented by each Szopka.
"Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia"!


  1. Wow thank you soo much for this!!

  2. Thank you for viewing my stories. Always like to answer and look at comment from my readers.

  3. MAJOR HELP! Thank you!

  4. I always love to share how others in different countries and different parts of the world clebrate holidays.