Q:

How does Poland celebrate Christmas?

A:

Christmas in Poland is celebrated in many ways, primarily by observing certain Christmas traditions such as those that occur during Wigilia. Wigilia is the Polish Christmas Eve, when the Christmas season really begins, and is celebrated with cleaning, decorating and feasting.

Christmas Eve in Poland starts out with a thorough cleaning followed by a flurry of decorating. According to the Polish Center, a clean house at Christmas means that the house will be clean for the whole coming year, whereas a dirty house at Christmas means that the house will be dirty in the coming year. This idea extends to weather and familial relationships as well. A white Christmas is a harbinger for good weather, and a quarrelsome Christmas means that there will be trouble the next year.

The next part of celebrating Wigilia is decorating for the holiday. Christmas trees are decorated and adorned with fruit, chocolate and candies as well as ornaments and candles. Picture frames are decorated with evergreen branches. The feast that night, called the Star Supper, is laid out on a carefully prepared table with a white tablecloth and straw underneath to symbolize the birth of Jesus Christ. Afterwards, the youngest child in the household waits for the first star to appear.

That night, according to the Polish Center, myth dictates that Jesus Christ or his angels bring children presents. In Poland, Santa Claus actually comes on Dec. 6, which is St. Nicholas Day.

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