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All Things Christmassy in Poland


smurf 39 | 1,981
16 Dec 2015 #61
Not drink on wigilia?

A bit mad alright. Have you heard of the madness at baptisms and first communions where there's no drink.
Jebus, those things are so boring you need drink to get through them!
dolnoslask
16 Dec 2015 #62
lucky you dougpo I was too young to enjoy the snow, I was hoping to have that experience here in Poland, but sadly the last few years have been warm and it doesn't look like a white Christmas in Poland this year. stopped the log burner tonight too damn hot.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
16 Dec 2015 #63
Christmas eve

If Christmas Eve was just another boring run-of-the-mill booze-up, there'd be nothing special about. That's part of the beauty and Polish magic of Wigilia.
dolnoslask
16 Dec 2015 #64
pol I agree a polish Christmas was always very special, every Christmas I think about the my family around the table , sadly most of them are gone and I was but a child.

Now that i am back in Poland there are so many questions that I would want to ask of them, how to grow crops, more about my religion, traditions, cooking etc , sadly my opportunity has gone, guess that's where PF comes in and helps fill some of the gaps.

Must admit I printed out Pols Christmas translations and gave them to my wife to help her understand more about Polish Christmas, so thanks pol. long list but valuable.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
16 Dec 2015 #65
those things are so boring

Spoken like a de-spiritualised and de-humanised materialist! If you can't eat, drink, wear, drive or f*ck it, it ain't no damn good!
Dougpol1 32 | 3,274
16 Dec 2015 #66
Spoken like a de-spiritualised and de-humanised materialist!

Smurf is right though Polonius. And don't Poles know it! It's medieval stuff, and they sit through it all stoically, but it doesn't mean us foreigners have to :))
johnny reb 28 | 4,994
17 Dec 2015 #67
but it doesn't mean us foreigners have to :))

You are using the term "foreigner" as being foreign to Jesus Christ's inspired words ? A non believer ?
Then No, you wouldn't have to on the grounds of ignorance.

those things are so boring you need drink to get through them!

As a typical alcoholic would say, we need to get pickled to go to a football game, a wedding, a funeral, family gatherings, while on vacations, at the end of the day, sitting watching t.v. at home, while playing on the internet, while socializing with friends, holidays and now it is we have to be drinking to experience a church function.

Drinking has ruined more Christmas's then one could count.
It would be easier to put a hot poker up a wild cats *** then to try and convince an alcoholic of that however.
mafketis 24 | 8,817
17 Dec 2015 #68
he would be offended if there were any alcohol on the table.

Many people fail to realize that complete non-use of alcohol and being falling down drunk are not the only two options.

One family I had wigilia with produced a bottle of vodka about halfway through, people had a couple of shots over the course the rest of the meal and that was that. With all the food the effects were pretty minimal.

Another produced an aperitiff, a nice white wine during the meal, and a digestiff at the end. Again, nice and civilized and no one got even tipsy.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
17 Dec 2015 #69
they sit through it all stoically

Then you have never experienced a real Polish Wigilia or only and ersatz version in the wrong company, for instance in a family with PZPR roots. Wigilia can and should be an enriching, rewarding and uplifting spiritual experience, not just another boring family meet-up which requires loads of booze to get through. I have seen many non-Poles, especially Americans of non-Polish extraction, marvel at the Wigilia saying "we don't have anything this beatuiful and moving in our Christmas routine." Maybe PF have an over-representation of heartless cynics.
OP Atch 17 | 3,289
17 Dec 2015 #70
Spoken like a de-spiritualised and de-humanised materialist!

Jesus Christ's inspired words

Now, boys, I started this thread and before doing so I said this:

There should be a rule though, no accompanying anything lovely with barbed comments or sly digs from anyone to anyone else.

No lectures or scolding at Christmas. Peace and goodwill towards each other now ok?

Johnny you were absent dear so probably weren't aware of the rule so you're forgiven but you know now...

If anyone wants to discuss other aspects of Christmas they can do so elsewhere but not here in the 'Christmassy thread'. This is a place of happiness, warmth and a bit of nostalgia. Joy to the world!
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
17 Dec 2015 #71
first communions where there's no drink.

When our son made his First Holy Communion the priest asked families not to serve alcohol. Pani Zaremba, the ruddy-faced lumpenprole-style mum of one of our son's schoolmates, was irate: "Who does he (the priest) think he is telling people they can't even raise a single a toast to their children!?" BTW she was not known to ever limit herself to "a single toast".

We willingly followed the priest's recommendation to a T and it was very nice. None of our guests complained of the absence of tipples on the table. Later in the afternoon after dinner the First Holy Communicants and their guests gathered at an Old Town church for a special benediction and families then took their kids for ice-cream before heading home. It was a nice sunny day and the stroll from Old Town back to Wilson Square was a pleasant experience.

Joy to the world!

I agree but have you distinguished between cause and effect and also admonisehd those badmouthing Polish traditions? My negatvie remarks came in response to posters calling them boring and mediaeval, saying they should be alcohol-laced and were something one has to stoically sit through. Such remarks may be offensive to those who regard the Wigilia tradition as something unique and sacred.

No-one scoffed at your Irish traditons, if you'll recall. No-one called them mediaeval or boring although a cynic might regard the candle in the window stuff as archaic and senseless.
OP Atch 17 | 3,289
17 Dec 2015 #72
My negatvie remarks came in response to posters calling them boring and mediaeval,

They were fairly mild comments Polly, observations made in a conversational way, not with any intention of being snide or derogatory. If you let them drift past like a gentle breeze, they will just float away. Don't whip them up into a storm. Come on now....

How many are you after? I may well be able to spare four (or even six), would need to check how many I have.

Harry, you old sweetie. I couldn't dream of helping myself to your Christmas treats! It's just the appearance of the crackers I like more than anything. The contents are ridiculous aren't they? It's just childhood memories, rattling them all and trying to guess what might be in them, the almighty pull and the joy or disappointment when the snap ignited or failed to ignite!
Dougpol1 32 | 3,274
17 Dec 2015 #73
something one has to stoically sit through

I was referring to first communion "celebrations" and such of that ilk, not Wigilia.....
OP Atch 17 | 3,289
17 Dec 2015 #74
Now to get things back on track here's a link to some Polish Christmas carols accompanied by some nice images of Christmas in Poland:

Does Poland have an equivalent of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College, Cambridge? I'd love to hear it if there is.
Dougpol1 32 | 3,274
17 Dec 2015 #75
Polish Christmas carols

Yes. It's a good thing that Christmas comes just but once a year. One would have thought Panderecki and Gorecki and that mob might have been lent on to write some proper tunes, like wot the German classical composers wrote:)
OP Atch 17 | 3,289
17 Dec 2015 #76
Or if only Chopin had written something for Christmas.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
17 Dec 2015 #77
Christmas

"NO, VIRGINIA, THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS!"

Christmas was approaching, and for the past two months little Virginia Nowak wondered each time he saw the grinning image of Santa advertising something in shops, on TV and billboards, in newspapers and magazines. She was seven years old, and some of the kids in second grade were saying there is no Santa, that parents put presents under the Christmas tree and only say that Santa left them.

One day Virginia was visitng her Busia and saw a Polish newspaper which had an English page. Readers were writing letters to the editor commenting on things or asking questions, That gave Virginia an idea. A newspaper must know a lot of things so she decided to write to the editor. In her still rather childish hand and spelling she neatly printed:

DEAR EDITER,
SOME KIDS SAY THEIR IS NO SANTA. I WOOD LIKE TO KNOW, CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME?
MARY CHRISTMAS TO YOU
VIRGINIA NOWAK

A few days later Virginia's letter and the editor's reply got printed. The editor wrote:
Dear Virginia,
That squat overgrown elf in a red suit was created bythe Coca-Cola company as an advertising gimmick back in the 1930s. His image boosted Coke sales so much that other companies started plastering it all over the place. Then someone added the North Pole bit, ho-ho-ho, elves and red-nosed reindeer and sales skyrocketed even more, So Santa really is the world's best advertising agent.

So you see, Virginia, there really is no Santa Claus. But there is a Saint Nicholas. He really walked God's good earth and was a saintly bishop known for helping those in need. And, some say that to this day he comes down from heaven on his feastday to quiz kids on their prayers, good deeds and behavior and reward them with little gifts and treats. So yes, Virginia, there is a St Nick. He visits kids on December 6th and keeps Christ in Christmas.

Tell your friends at school and have a happy and blessed Boże Narodzenie.
Yours truly,
Adam Kowalczyk
Editor-in-Chief
Harry
17 Dec 2015 #78
I couldn't dream of helping myself to your Christmas treats!

I'm sure I've got more than enough (I bought a couple of boxes at M&S when the prices were low). Just let me know, you're welcome to pick some up in the city centre during working hours.

It's just the appearance of the crackers I like more than anything. The contents are ridiculous aren't they?

How about some which are guaranteed to either contain peach, rose & vanilla body wash or peach, rose & vanilla body lotion?
allegro.pl/baylis-harding-zestaw-podarunkowy-crackers-i5833615545.html
Other flavours are available on Allegro.
OP Atch 17 | 3,289
17 Dec 2015 #79
Polly, it doesn't have to be one or the other.

When I was a child we understood quite well that we were celebrating the birth of Jesus and we went to church on Christmas morning but Santa brought our presents. In pre-Santa days in Ireland, during my mother's childhood the presents were brought by Father Christmas or Daddy Christmas as very young children called him. The term was still used by my grandparents when I was a child. Father Christmas is quite probably derived from an old Pagan tradition. Christianity has very neatly absorbed many Pagan customs (such as decorating with greenery and lights at the mid-winter) and combined them into Christian festivals. Ireland is a great example of that. It's normal, it's natural, it's fascinating and quite beautiful.
smurf 39 | 1,981
17 Dec 2015 #80
Spoken like a de-spiritualised and de-humanised materialist!

Stop talking thru your hoop man, are you seriously telling me you can sit through a whole day of torture with your idiot inlaws without a drink??

G'way will ya and stop acting the maggot. Yuo're not as high and mighty as you think you are..........especially comeing from a man who admits drinking VIP lager!!! LOLz

On topic however:

In pre-Santa days in Ireland, during my mother's childhood the presents were brought by Father Christmas or Daddy Christmas as very young children called him

But Santa & Father Christmas are the same.................aren't they?

Christianity has very neatly absorbed many Pagan customs

Ah sure, look Christmas was stolen by the Christians from the Romans: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia
And the Virgin birth was pilfered too, but from the Egyptians: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miraculous_births#Egyptian_mythology

I always laugh when religious people ask atheist why do they celebrate Christmas, little do they know that the Christians tooks the traditions from 'pagan' religions :D
OP Atch 17 | 3,289
17 Dec 2015 #81
allegro.pl/baylis-harding-zestaw-podarunkowy-crackers-i5833615545.html

You old charmer, trying to entice me into the city centre with the promise of sweetly scented dainties! I'm afraid with sweeping, scrubbing, window washing, tree buying, decorating, baking, (and praying of course) I won't be going far from home over the next few days, but all jokes aside, thank you very much for the kind gesture.

Baylis and Harding - how terribly English and upper crust. Interesting, they're so elegant. Sophisticated Poles (have you seen that awful Westwing website, such pretentious stuff) will never know the joy of those hideously gaudy, tacky crackers of my own childhood with the inferior paper hats. My mother always shook her head sorrowfully over those and recalled the amazing concoctions of her own childhood when paper hats really were party hats, beautifully decorated, remnants of Victoriana really. I used to collect up all the discarded paper hats and store them in what I called my 'treasure box' and then have a wonderful time snipping them up and making collages.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
17 Dec 2015 #82
Father Christmas

A bit of Polish history. During the Stalinist period Poland's Soviet puppets worked overtime to undermine Christmas. They shifted the main celebration to New Year's Day and told kids their presents were brought by a Soviet-style Santa called Dyed Moroz (in Polish: Dziadek Mróz or Grandpa Frost). In place of jasełka (nativity plays) houses of culture (communtiy centres) staged New Year's Day gatherings and state printeries churned out millions of New Year's greeting cards which Poles did not need. Dyed Moroz was sent back to the USSR during the 1956 "thaw" and things returned to normal until the 1990's when Christmas got turned into a high-powered, razzle-dazzle American-style shopping spree. You were born to buy, Poles were told, so shop till you drop. If you can't afford it, get a bank loan. And they lived happily ever after.
OP Atch 17 | 3,289
17 Dec 2015 #83
But Santa & Father Christmas are the same.................aren't they?

Not really. but the one is derived partly from the other. Father Christmas was the gift bringer of English folklore, he has white hair and a beard, wears a crown of holly and long fur trimmed robes, sometimes blue or even green, sometimes red. You'll see him on Victorian Christmas cards. Santa is an American invention loosely based on St Nicholas the gift bringer of many European traditions and he sort of got combined I suppose by the immigrants into a mixture of the two. The Santa image with the red suit etc which we know and some of us love is the Coca Cola Santa designed back in the 1930s for an advertising campaign.

Christmas was stolen by the Christians from the Romans: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia

Look Smurf, the Catholic church was quite clever. Saturnalia, Calends, Yule, all that was a time of merry making and as a relatively new religion they weren't going to take the chance of telling people they couldn't have a party. So simply make it a church festival and combine the two. No big deal really.

By the way you were asking about Christmas pudding. No, not Irish, another legacy of our colonial days, but sure at this stage we've made it our own, especially with the Guinness! (or the Jamesons, or Hennesseys)

G'way will ya and stop acting the maggot. Yuo're not as high and mighty as you think you are..........especially comeing from a man who admits drinking VIP lager!!! LOLz

Smurf, I can see I'll have to do the Irish mammy on you here - would Mammy allow that talk in the house at Christmas if she'd already put a 'rule' in place? You might have missed it, but we agreed no barbed comments and sly digs. Come on let's see if we can stick to that?
smurf 39 | 1,981
17 Dec 2015 #84
Not really. but the one is derived partly from the other.

hmm, I just thought they were the same. I do remember though when I was a nipper that we did have a few Christmas tree baubles that were blue Santys......yea, for me he's Santy, not Santa ;)

The Santa image with the red suit etc which we know and some of us love is the Coca Cola Santa designed back in the 1930s for an advertising campaign.

Yes, of course, now I remember hearing that before.

You might have missed it, but we agreed no barbed comments and sly digs.

Sorry Ma :( I'll be good, I don't want a rock of coal in me stocking
OP Atch 17 | 3,289
17 Dec 2015 #85
Sorry Ma :( I'll be good,

Smurf, ah sure you're a lovely lad altogether. I knew you wouldn't let me down!
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
17 Dec 2015 #86
medieval stuff

No, it's tradition, Every nation has it. Like the candles on the birthday cake or Guy Fawkes Day or the US Thanksgiving Day turkey and parades or St Paddy's day doings (in Chicago they actually dye the river green!?).....

there are so many questions

POLISH CHRISTMAS LORE

Polish Christmas lore includes various local customs, beliefs and practices whose minor points may have differed from one partition zone to another (from the late 1700s until 1918 Poland was occupied by three foreign powers). There were minor differences from region to region and village to village, and individual families added some unique practices of their own. But for centuries, Wigilia (Christmas eve) has been the focus of the celebration, and the opłatek or Christmas wafer -- its central symbolic artifact. Exceptions included parts of Pomerania (Kashubia) and Mazuria - regions that had been under German rule for ages. Now the opłatek custom is also widely practiced in those areas as well.

ampoleagle.com/polish-christmas-lore-p5556-137.htm

Please follow the rules set out for pre-published material
mafketis 24 | 8,817
17 Dec 2015 #87
Actually the American version is probably most closely based on the Dutch Sinterklaas but as imagined by Washington Irving who wrote a lot about the descendents of Dutch settlers around New York. But he described an almost troll like short squat figure, rather like a Dutch Burgher. IIRC an anonymous author added the reindeer and sleigh (instead of Sinterklaas's white horse). The elves are probably a reimagining of Zwaarte Piet the blackfaced companions of Sinterklaas.

Others brought him up to normal height but kept the rotund figure. Thomas Nast was most responsible for creating the visual image of the American Santa starting in the 1860s.
OP Atch 17 | 3,289
17 Dec 2015 #88
if the first visitor entering a home on Wigilia was a male, that was said to bring good luck but a female visitor foretold misfortune.

And in Scotland, the first visitor over the threshold after midnight on New Year's Eve was ideally a tall, dark haired man, as this was said to bring good luck for the year! He was known as the First Foot. In some regions the female was also considered bad luck.

And if a child should have to be spanked on Christmas Eve for misbehaving, that was what was in store for him or her all year long.

Poor child! Diabolically clever way of keeping the little ones quiet during a busy day for the adults of the house.

Grown-ups too were on their best behavior, refrained from arguments

And we're observing that tradition on this thread, very good.

Still, it was held that the general mood should be solemn,

Yes, I think that prevails somewhat even today.

Various forms of fortune-telling

Interesting, a Pagan custom which survived I would say as fortune telling was very much against the Christian tradition.

According to another folk belief farm animals could speak in human voices at midnight

Yes I believe that belief exists in other parts of Europe too.

Thank you Polly, all very interesting and here's my contribution. I found this on YouTube. It's from the Śląsk region. It's a bit 'staged' but it's nice:

youtube.com/watch?v=7LBX5iw_m6Y

But he described an almost troll like short squat figure,

Yes, yes, that's right. In the poem 'Twas The Night Before Christmas', (proper title A Visit From St Nicholas) Santa is a tiny elfin figure, which is why he can come down the chimney so easily. That was written sometime in the 1820s. He was an almost exact contemporary of Irving. I mean the author of the poem, Clement Clarke Moore, not Santa!
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
17 Dec 2015 #89
DEAR MOD,
I*VE READ THE RUELS. MY COMPUTER IS LOADED WITH STUFF. SOME OF IT HAS INDEED BEEN PRINTED IN THE US POLONIA PRESS YEARS AGO. I CAN'T ALWAYS REMEMEBR WHICH ITEMS WERE OR WEREN'T. I'D LIKE TO SHARE SOME OF IT WITH PF. WHAT AM I TO DO?

MAYBE MAKE A SMALL EXCEPTION IN THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS?
Harry
17 Dec 2015 #90
WHAT AM I TO DO?

Search for a couple of sentences or phrases from a text in google. If you get any hits, quote the first hundred words of the article and give a link to the source. If you don't, there's still a risk that it has already been published and so you no longer own the copyright (although it is unlikely that any of the copyright holders would sue PF).

Oh, and remove whatever is holding down your shift key.


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