My husband, G is of polish descent, both sets of his grandparents were from Poland. This means that as well as a normal Christmas day, we have other traditions that we have over the festive period. The main one is called Wigilia which takes place on Christmas Eve. I thought I would share this tradition with you today; apologies for lack of photos of Wigilia, most of them have people in them and I don’t have their permission to be all over my blog!
Us three along with our extended family (there are easily 20 of us there) gather together on the evening of Christmas Eve at someone’s house and have a huge meal, when I say huge I mean really really huge. Tradition dictates that there are twelve courses which represent the twelve apostles and these courses are shared around the table as a family. Our families Wigilia traditions come from G’s grandparents who were settled in England in the mid 40’s, after the war. As it is now 2015, things have changed through the years and have now settled into our own personal Wigilia.
The evening starts with the breaking of a wafer (opłatek). We stand in a big group and make our way around every member of the family (even the smallest ones) sharing our wafer with them and wishing them good fortune and happiness for the forthcoming year.
Then there is food. I can’t even tell you the amount of food that there is on Christmas Eve. Meat isn’t allowed but everything else is and there is so much of it. When I went to my first Wigilia 7 years ago the food was the thing I was a bit concerned about but wanting to impress the inlaws I dived in. It is so yummy, although there is a lot of it it is all quite light food, leaving room for the roast the next day! There are cold and hot fish courses and also a beetroot soup which is divine…never wear white to Wigilia! My favourite part is the pierogi course. Pierogi are similar to stuffed dumplings stuffed with cheese & potatoe and sourcrout & mushroom.
After all this eating comes the presents. When we arrive we all put presents to each other under the tree. Santa pops along to give out the presents and there is a crazy hour or so of everyone opening presents and shouting thank you’s to each other. I love this part, such a lovely buzz and lovely family feeling.
Then there is coffee and cake and everyone heads home to put the kids to bed and get ready for Christmas Day.
I love this tradition. It is so different to what I used to do as a kid on Christmas eve but I find it such a lovely part of Christmas and love that Little Man gets to experience it all too. I hope he loves it as he gets older as much as we do.
Do you have any different Christmas traditions?