2adventAdvent is an important period in the Polish year. The word advent derives form Latin and means coming. Advent consists of four Sundays. In the church there is an advent wreath with four candles. Every Sunday another candle is lit. The main puropse of advent is to remind people that they’re waiting for Jesus Christ’s coming.
3Advent Each candle form advent wreat has its own meaning: I candle = peaceII candle = faithIII candle = loveIV candle = hope
4adventThe first Sunday of advent starts new liturgical year. The dominant colour of this period is purple.This colour symbolizes the period of penance and reconciliation with God and people. „Roraty” is a mass special for advent and it starts at sunrise. One of the most characteristic elements of this mass is a candle(roratka) – symbol of God’s Mother. Nowadays this mass is celebrated in the evening because many children young people come.
5adventOne of the symbol of advent is also special calendar. It helps with counting down days which remain until Christmas. It’s popular among children because nowadays the calendar is a box with small windows. There are 24 windows and every day kids open new one and find chocolate there.
6ADVENTPolish people ususally don’t eat meat on Fidays (during advent) and also they prepare fasting dishes for Christmas Eve.
7Christmas treeThere was an old pagan custom of suspending at the ceiling a branch of fir, spruce or pine called Podłaźniczka (top of the tree). The branches were decorated with apples, nuts, cookies, colored paper, stars made of straw, ribbons and colored wafers. People believed that it will bring copious harvest and success in the next year.
8Christmas treeChristmas tree should be decorated during Christmas supper. But nowadays children decorate Christmas tree with their parents a day before Christmas Eve or in the mornig of Christmas Eve. Christmas tree is decorated with nuts, shiny apples, candles, baubles and handmade decorations.
9Christmas treeConifer is a symbol of life, rebirth and fertility. First Christmas tree appeared in Poland between XVIII and XIX century.
10Christmas tree in Georgia Georgians have their own traditional Christmas tree called Chichilaki, made from dried up hazelnut or walnut branches that are shaved to form a small coniferous tree. These pale-colored ornaments differ in height from 20 cm to 3 meters. These trees are the most common in regions near the Black Sea.
11Christmas tree Decorations of Christmas tree have their own meaning: the Star of Bethlehem – helps with coming back home from long journeyLightning – protects against bad ghosts and unfriendly looks of peopleApples – guarantees health and beautyNuts – brings wealth and powerPaper chains – remember about sins, intensifyfamily ties and protect home against troublesBells – means good news and happy eventsAngels – care for homeMistletoe – creates the place for peoplein love and shoud be kept until next ChristmasTree – is source of life
12Christmas eveIt’s a day just before Christmas and it’s also the end of advent. Christmas Eve is celebrated on 24th December. But orthodox church has Christmas Eve on 6th of January (Julian calendar).
13Christmas eveChristmas Eve has its roots in ancient Rome. Sturnalia was an annual celebration between 17 and 23 December in honor of Saturn (god of agriculture). It was a day of reconciliation and equality. During those days there was no trade and slaves celebrated on a par with free. People offered sacrifice to Saturn. Fathers of families received wax candles and clay figurines.
14Christmas eveChristmas Eve in Polish means Wigilia . Wigilia derives from the Latin word vigilare, which means to watch or keep vigil.
15Christmas eveChristmas Eve is a day first of fasting, then of feasting.On Christmas Eve, so important is the first star of the night that it has the affecionate name of ‘little star’ (Gwiazdka), in remembrance of the Star of Bethlehem.On that night, all people watch the sky impatiently, hoping to be the first to cry out ‘The star!’.When the star appears, the feastbegins and people start eating.
16Christmas EVEChristmas Eve supper consists of fasting dishes. It starts from reading a part of gospel according to St. Lukas. Many years ago people didn’t celebrate Christmas Eve on Sunday (if it was like this) because you can’t fast on Sunday and they prepared Christmas Eve supper on Saturday.
17Christmas eveAccording to tradition, a bit of hay spread beneath the tablecloth as a reminder that Jesus Christ was born in a manger.
18Christmas eve Family members sit around the table. According to tradition, an empty place is left at the table for a guest, homeless, poor person or for unexpected people.Some people believe that the empty place should be left for a person who died in the current year.
19Christmas eveOne tradition is quite unique for Poland – sharing a thin wafer (Opłatek). It’s made of flour and water. On this wafer is pressed a holy picture. This custom dates back to XVIII century.The wafer symolizes the bread and on the other hand love, frendship, period of reconciliation and forgiveness.
20Christmas eveIn the past people took the wafer and went from house to house to wish their neighbours ‘Merry Christmas!’.Nowadays people share the wafer with their family members.Each person shares pieceof the wafer with anotherperson and they are supposedto forgive any hurts and towish happiness in theupcoming year.
21Christmas EVEThere are many customs connected with Christmas. Some people believed that a person who died is present around the table during Christmas Eve supper. To see that person, you have to go to hallway and look through the keyhole to see Christmas table.
22Christmas EVEYou shouldn’t quarrel with other people during Christmas Eve. It’s better to share happiness and joy.
23Christmas EVEOn Christmas Eve the first guest should be a boy – his coming symbolizes luck in New Year.
24CHRISTMAS EVEIn Poland women prepare red borscht with special kind of dumplings called uszka (like small ears). They put inside a coin (1 grosz). A person who will find it during Christmas supper will have luck in upcoming New Year.
25CHRISTMAS EVEYou shouldn’t get hurt or during Christmas Eve because it means problems with health next year.
26CHRISTMAS EVEYou should put a scale of carp into you wallet to be sure of happiness during the whole year.
27CHRISTMAS EVEIt’s good to try all 12 dishes during Christmas Eve supper to have enough food next year and to not be out of dishes.
28Christmas supperDuring Christmas supper there are 12 dishes on the table – symbol of 12 apostols:dumpling with cabbage and mushroomsmushroom soupherring soupbeetroot soup (red borscht)
29fried carp (and other fish) cabbage with mushroomscabbage with peascroquette (pancakes with mushrooms and cheese)
30compote of dry fruitscheese cakepoppyseed cakeginger cake
31Santa clausIn the middle of Christmas supper Santa Claus comes and everybody waits impatiently for him, especially children. Santa Claus gives presents, but first children have to do something. Sometimes he can’t come and he leaves presents under the Christmas tree.
32Christmas EveAfter supper family members sing together Christmas carols. Polish carols are beautiful but a bit difficult.Families wait till midnight and they go to the church. There is a special mass which is called Midnight Mass (Pasterka) – it is organized once a year.
33CHRISTMAS EVEChristmas Mass starts at midnight. It’s the first mass during Christmas. Pasterka commemorates expectation and prayers of shepherds who were going to Bethlehem. It’s also one of the most important traditions in Poland.