Wigilia The Polish Christmas Eve

717 Words3 Pages
Poland is one of the richest countries when it comes to culture and tradition. One of the most important and best-celebrated events of this beautiful nation is Christmas Eve, or Wigilia, which translates to "vigil," meaning keeping watch in expectation of something. Of course, what the Christian world awaits on this date is the birth of Jesus Christ. In Poland, Christmas is also referred to as Gwiazdka, which stands for little star, and it is the appearance of the first star in the sky that Polish children await most eagerly on Christmas Eve. This is because this evocation of the Star of Bethlehem signals that the Wigilia festivities can begin. Some of the most significant traditions that are visible on this special day include: the sharing of the oplatek, the attendance of the midnight Mass, and the acknowledgement of the magic that takes place on this mysterious evening. After the spotting of the first star, the festivities begin by the sharing of the oplatek, which is an unconsecrated bread wafer frequently embossed with Christmas scenes. It is a way to reunite, either in person or through thoughts, with relatives and friends that are present, distant, or deceased. Each present individual carries a piece of the wafer with them around the room and shares wishes with ever other individual that is in attendance. When there is still some wafer left after meeting with everyone, the rest is either saved for distant relatives or eaten and shared with those that are no longer around. It is very common for family members who cannot see each other on this particular evening to send a small piece of oplatek through the mail along with warm wishes. There is even a special colored type wafer that can be shared with animals. The opłatek has for all Poles a mystical meaning, which cannot be explained logically. It is the treasured link that brings warm memories of Poland

More about Wigilia The Polish Christmas Eve

Open Document