posted December 23, 2014 in category Discovering Wroclaw
Talking animals, carol singers to wake you up, and a bath full of surprises - Polish Christmas are fun. Period. And there you have the reasons why. Learn how to prepare for this special time in Poland - thanks to us you’ll have a chance to shine with an anecdote.
Christmas is the time of peace and reflections, usually spend with family, but you should also know that for ages it was one of the jolliest moments of the year. At the very beginning of Advent there were costume marches (whose attendants in disguise are called “maszkary”). Goats, horses, storks, wolfs and bears went form house to house and expected to be rewarded for their performance. And that is where the custom of baking advent rolls came form. Today, this tradition is preserved only in memories and recollections, but you can still count on the invasion of carol singers during Christmas.
Carols at the break of a day
Until recently, the Christmas Day used to start with the ring to the door at the break of the day. Christmas is the time of joy, so you had to put a smile on your sleepy face, open the door and listen to little, cheerful boys singing carols. This tradition is still present, but it isn’t as popular as it used to be - especially in big cities. But, if by any chance, you’ll have them at your door, remember about some award - change or Christmas sweets should be enough. It is also worth to mention that today the carol singers got taller, sing with baritone and often appear in the afternoon. J
Christmas woman for bad luck
The fact that little boys used to be carol singers is connected with another Christmas tradition. In the past, people used to say that the first guest in your house should be young and male - only then he can guarantee good luck for the family. So, before the threshold of a house is crossed by a jinxed woman, a young man has to get ahead of her. My great-grandfather was a real guardian of this tradition and always made sure that none of my aunts stepped into his house in the morning.
Guest in your bath
Just before the Christmas Eve, every self-respecting household had a special guest in their bath. To the joy of all children - it was a carp. The fish would splash in the tub, and than - in a magical way - appeared in aspic in the bowl. My cousin once helped the fish to step at the other side of the rainbow by offering it a pillow to sleep. All thanks to the grandma, who said: ‘Go to bed, the carp needs to rest too’. Nowadays, carp usually gets to the house ready to be cooked, so you have little chance to observe that tradition.
Animals can speak
You should know that on the Christmas Night all animals can speak. Dogs and cats who try to get to the Christmas plates of their owners speak even before midnight. In the past, the farmers would go out to share the holy wafer with all their animals - they were given a special, pink one. The farmers would also share their supper. But awaiting the first sentence of your dog is mostly children’s duty. I know a Labrador who, with determination in his voice, demands cookies after having a fish dish - every year.
As you can see, we have a rich Christmas tradition; it is vivid and interesting to learn about. Maybe you already have your own Christmas observations? We would be also happy to learn about your traditions.