Christmas in Poland is a truly magical time, full of deeply rooted traditions and an unique atmosphere. It is a season during which all disputes and resentment disappear and we become one big family.
The highlight of Christmas is obviously a festive supper which takes place on 24th of December.
It is an evening full of emotions and love. There is no other such dinner in the entire year, when whole families gather at the table, often having come from afar. Awaiting the meal begins even before the dusk, when children look out for the first star in the sky. When it appears, the celebration can be started. Before the supper, members of the household share wishes and a special wafer, which is called opłatek. As is the tradition, one seat by the festive table should be left empty to symbolise openness to welcome anyone who may knock on our door this special day. Another important matter is the number of dishes, that should be served during the evening. There is always twelve of them. Without red borscht with dumplings, fish, cabbage with mushrooms or poppy-seed cakes it would not be the same. After the substantial meal, all together gather around a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and sing carols. This is when the most awaited, especially by children, part of the evening begins - unwrapping the presents. But this is not the end yet.
At midnight at every Polish church a special mass - pasterka - takes place, which commemorates the arrival of Biblical shepherds to Bethlehem, where Christ was born.
The two next days, which are 25th and 26th of December are also non-working days. This is also when we share meals, rest and celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Undoubtedly, Christmas is a beautiful and a unique holiday. It would be wonderful to be kind, open-minded and happy not only during these few days in December, but the whole year.