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Why is Polish Christmas on the 24th?


Ant63 11 | 403
22 Dec 2011  #1
I am asking this purely out of interest as my partner cannot give a reason other than "It is"
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
22 Dec 2011  #2
Because we celebrate Christmas Eve. It's not a Polish thing, it's a Catholic thing.
OP Ant63 11 | 403
22 Dec 2011  #3
Christmas Eve

Ah! so it's her terminoly thats incorrect. Christmas day is still the 25th then.

What is the relationship between giving gifts and christmas eve then? I am not relgious but assumed the gifts were something to do with the three kings.

I am only asking out of interest as I do not want to start a religous debate.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
22 Dec 2011  #4
Well, Christmas Eve is Christmas to us, full stop. You find your presents under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, as the three wise men brought gifts to the newborn Jesus. Christmas Eve is the evening of His birth, and Midnight Mass celebrates that birth. So Christmas celebrations culminate with that Mass. The next two days are just a generalised holiday of eating and relaxing, without much religious significance.
nunczka 8 | 458
22 Dec 2011  #5
I accept Magdalena's explanation. Actually I never gave that a thought.
Christmas eve (Wigilia) to my family was the night to celebrate. As Polish immigrants to America, I just assumed that this is how it was done in Poland. On Christmas eve (Wigilia) my entire family including Uncle and Aunts gathered at one home.. All Polish food was served and the booze flowed freely. My uncle played his concertina and we sang koledy. Since we had to fast until midnight,no meat was served. About the time midnight came, most of my family were bombed.. Most of us went to midnight mass.( Usually the priest called us a bunch of drunks.

After Mass, we returned to the party.. Now the ham (Szynks) and Kielbasa was served. Back to the drinking and singing until daybreak. We now placed the presents under the tree for the kids.

This was a Polish Christmas in America
Mr_Bruxelles 2 | 12
22 Dec 2011  #6
Because we celebrate Christmas Eve. It's not a Polish thing, it's a Catholic thing.

In Belgium we also celebrate on Christmas Eve.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
22 Dec 2011  #7
Since we had to fast until midnight,no meat was served.

Actually, the fast means that no alcohol is allowed at the Christmas Eve table. Many families don't follow this rule, but I would say that most do. At least the ones I know ;-)
delphiandomine 83 | 17,669
22 Dec 2011  #8
As far as I've gathered, alcohol is generally a no-no, but even if you do drink, getting "bombed" is about as uncultured as it gets.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
22 Dec 2011  #9
I'm sure it varied and cotinues to vary not only by region and town but also from one PolAm family to another. In my recollection, many Detroit area kids of Polish extraction felt superior because unlike their Heinz 57 classmates they got their presents right after the Wigilia supper. Their non-Polish friends had to wait until Christmas morning.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,669
22 Dec 2011  #10
In my recollection, many Detroit area kids of Polish extraction felt superior because unlike their Heinz 57 classmates they got their presents right after the Wigilia supper.

You do realise that the average Polish kid is as much "Heinz 57" as the rest of them?
teflcat 5 | 1,032
22 Dec 2011  #11
Actually, the fast means that no alcohol is allowed at the Christmas Eve table. Many families don't follow this rule, but I would say that most do. At least the ones I know ;-)

In the last few days I've been asking for a show of hands among my students on whether or not their families drink on Christmas Eve. These are university students, so their parents must be in their forties and fifties. About 40% declared that alcohol (mostly wine) was allowed at Christmas dinner, but in moderation. When asked if their grandparents drank on this day 100% said no.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
22 Dec 2011  #12
so their parents must be in their forties and fifties. About 40% declared that alcohol (mostly wine) was allowed at Christmas dinner, but in moderation. When asked if their grandparents drank on this day 100% said no.

I think this would be a fair approximation of the real picture.
EchoTheCat - | 137
22 Dec 2011  #13
I just assumed that this is how it was done in Poland

the booze flowed freely

Since we had to fast until midnight,no meat was served. About the time midnight came, most of my family were bombed..

My Christmas Eve is finished until 10 p.m, we don't eat meat that day even after midnight and this "booze" is three bottles of wine for 10 people.

Usually the priest called us a bunch of drunks.

I wonder why...

After Mass, we returned to the party.. Now the ham (Szynks) and Kielbasa was served. Back to the drinking and singing until daybreak

After Pasterka I just go to bed and watch dr. House ;)
Sounds nothing like Polish Christmas.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,669
22 Dec 2011  #14
In the last few days I've been asking for a show of hands among my students on whether or not their families drink on Christmas Eve. These are university students, so their parents must be in their forties and fifties. About 40% declared that alcohol (mostly wine) was allowed at Christmas dinner, but in moderation. When asked if their grandparents drank on this day 100% said no.

I've always thought that there's a strong social stigma about drinking anything heavy on this day, and anything more than wine is an utter no-no.

I wonder why...

Imagine turning up at a church after drinking! The shame...

Sounds nothing like Polish Christmas.

No doubt traditional for Ukrainians abroad.
Harry
22 Dec 2011  #15
I've always thought that there's a strong social stigma about drinking anything heavy on this day, and anything more than wine is an utter no-no.

Same here.

You do realise that the average Polish kid is as much "Heinz 57" as the rest of them?

But their <insert Ukrainian word for grandmother here> told them that they're not!
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
22 Dec 2011  #16
Hahahaha the forum's douchebags are jealous when Polonians party!
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
22 Dec 2011  #17
and anything more than wine is an utter no-no.

you will probably find vodka on some tables, but only enough for a couple of toasts.

anyone who is so much as tipsy has gone too far.
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
22 Dec 2011  #18
you will probably find vodka on some tables, but only enough for a couple of toasts.

I was once at a wigilia meal in Podlasie where the oldest man there, a retired engineer in his 80's suggested a toast with brandy. His daughter immediately objected saying it 'wasn't Polish'. Mind you she was also a bit sniffy because the barszcz had green beans in rather than ustki.
Harry
22 Dec 2011  #19
you will probably find vodka on some tables, but only enough for a couple of toasts.

In a decade and a half I have never seen it on a Christmas table (although I have seen furtive shots being done on balconies or in porches out of the sight of women who might object.

the forum's douchebags are jealous when Polonians party!

Sadly some of us can't be partying until gone four o'clock in the morning on a Wednesday night: we have these things called 'jobs'.
nunczka 8 | 458
22 Dec 2011  #20
you will probably find vodka on some tables, but only enough for a couple of toasts.

anyone who is so much as tipsy has gone too far.

So I wonder why there is so much alcohol consumed at Christmas time..

I am also happy to hear that there are so many non drinkers in Poland.. (Chuckle)
delphiandomine 83 | 17,669
22 Dec 2011  #21
But their <insert Ukrainian word for grandmother here> told them that they're not!

It's actually hilarious - I wonder where the culture of getting drunk came from with the American Poles, because it's certainly not something practiced by real Polish people. Could it be that they just took the traditions from where they came from?

Hahahaha the forum's douchebags are jealous when Polonians party!

Jealous? Most of us would never dream of drinking anything heavy on Christmas Eve, and we would have more respect than to dare show up at the local church while "bombed" out of our skull. If that's what you guys do - well, no wonder you get ridiculed and mocked by Polish people.

If you guys are getting wasted on Christmas Eve, fair play to you - but don't ever claim that it's "Polish".

So I wonder why there is so much alcohol consumed at Christmas time..

Where? Not in Poland...
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
22 Dec 2011  #22
Where? Not in Poland...

delph, he said 'christmas time' not christmas eve. plenty people drink in the days around christmas.
nunczka 8 | 458
22 Dec 2011  #24
Where? Not in Poland...

Try this on for size. Sounds to me like a Polish drunk..LOL!
Half of you transplants will not even be able to read this

Czerwona roza Trojaka,
Czerwona roza Trojaka.
Miala se meza pijaka,
Miala se meza pijaka.
Co nic nie robi` tylko pil,
Co nic nie robi` tylko pil.
Przyszedl do domu i ja bil,
Przyszed` do domu i ja bil.
Czerwona roza jalowiec,
Czerwona roza jalowiec.
Lepszy kawaler niz wdowiec,
Lepszy kawaler niz wdowiec.
Bo wdowiec pije kartuje,
Bo wdowiec pije kartuje.
Kawaler sciska caluje,
Kawaler sciska caluje

After Pasterka I just go to bed and watch dr. House ;)
Sounds nothing like Polish Christmas.

Sounds like you live a fun filled life.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
22 Dec 2011  #25
I wonder where the culture of getting drunk came from with the American Poles

uhhmmmm.....america?

my family always drinks on christmas eve. i don't think jesus had any preference.
Harry
22 Dec 2011  #26
uhhmmmm.....america?

America? The land of the temperance movement? The land which thought prohibition would be a good idea? Highly doubtful.

However, I'm told that Orthodox Christmas Eve features a fair bit of drinking.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
22 Dec 2011  #27
Highly doubtful.

you doubt what? that most americans drink on christmas eve? you'd be wrong.
f stop 25 | 2,513
22 Dec 2011  #28
The celebration is on Christmas Eve, the supper at sighting of first star. One extra setting at the table.
Mikolaj comes sometime during supper, sometimes later, depending when parents can succesfully distract the kids.
Bottle of something was available for those who drink (often akvavit), even though my parents did not.
Stop arguing if Poles drink at Christmas supper. Some do and some don't.
patrick 6 | 113
22 Dec 2011  #29
Grew up Catholic in the States, and yes for us too Christmas Eve is the big day.
TheOther 5 | 3,786
22 Dec 2011  #30
Because we celebrate Christmas Eve. It's not a Polish thing, it's a Catholic thing.

Not only a catholic thing. Non-catholics in Austria, Germany and other places celebrate Christmas on the 24th as well.


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