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Zenon
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Joined: 28 Apr 2007
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 5:07 pm      Post subject: Article: Christmas Eve - Wigilia
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Christmas Eve - Wigilia

Post your question, share your own Christmas memories and discuss about this article


Last edited by Zenon on Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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Zenon
PolishOrigins Team Leader


Joined: 28 Apr 2007
Replies: 1455
Location: Poland

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:28 pm      Post subject:
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Do you want to try traditional recipe for Wigilia Question Click here for two recipes: http://polishorigins.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1438#1438


And here you can listen a few Polish carols - Koledy: http://forum.polishorigins.com/viewtopic.php?p=1432#1432 Exclamation
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All Polska



Joined: 05 Jul 2010
Replies: 48
Location: Florida, USA

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Post Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:56 am      Post subject:
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Part I:
My families, mother's = Grzymala & Sokolowski & father's = Hereda & Yorkov) came from Poland, so the traditions were a big part of my life. December was spent with much baking the entire month. Besides cookies, nut rolls, poppy seed rolls and apricot rolls abounded!

Wigilia began with eating the Oplatek & blessing each other. All day on Christmas Eve was a fast of not eating, ending the fast with the completely meatless meal. My mother would make the gowomki (stuffed cabbage rolls) with imported dried mushroom and wild rice rather than the traditional ground meat and white rice.

Afterward, Santa came bringing gifts to the children. It was a very festive time. Since both sides of my family joined at my dad's familiy's business, a bar, hotel & motel, I was blessed to be with all my grandparents. Many times, boarders were included in the family celebration. After the meal, some of the patrons from the bar came into the Lobby (TV room today) to add their well wishes.

All then went to Midnight Mass. The Babbkas knelt at the end of the pews with lit candles and prayed. The children from the Polish Catholic School, were part of the procession, girls dressed as angels with gold tinsel trim on halos and wings. The boys with long altar boy's red cassacks with a top of pure white cassack and huge red bows. All the priests processed in with the gold crucifix on a long gold pole, incense wafted before it in the golden censor. The mass was very long with many stops and more processions in between.

The huge side altar was covered with mountain like cloth and various life sized statues by Fontanini were placed above, and beside the cave Nativity scene. Mary & Joseph were kneeling on each side of the empty manger. Finally, the procession had the priests as the end, instead of the beginning of it and the statue of baby Jesus was carried in held high on a pure white linen cloth. He was placed in the manger and rejoicing was abundant with Koledy (Polish Christmas Carols). My favorite still is "Dzisiaj W Betlejem" (Today in Bethlehem). The sermon was very long and preached twice, once in Polish and once in English for all the children in attendance.

After mass, everyone left shouting "Wesolych Swiat Boze' Naredzenie" (literally means blessings to you on the night God was born).

by Andrea Hereda Jenkins
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All Polska



Joined: 05 Jul 2010
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Location: Florida, USA

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Post Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:13 am      Post subject:
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Part II

After Midnight Mass, as children we went home & usually fell asleep in the car to be carried in the house & placed in our beds. However, as teens and young adults, we returned to my family's bar to celebrate. Since the total fast & fast from meat was over, we enjoyed eating baked ham, kolbassi, which was made by my maternal grandmother, & Krakowska (a luncheon meat type sausage with the appearance of Canadian bacon made with very lean pork and a lot of garlic).

We finally, in the early morning hours would return home, go to bed, only to be awakened by the honking of car horns that got louder and louder as my dad's sisters who ran the family bar drove up the hill to our house. We would get up, and open our presents, then eat some more cookies, fruit rolls and coffee.

After our relatives left, we would finally sleep a little. Christmas day continued the celebration with the family gathering again at the family's lobby at the bar, hotel & motel for a huge Christmas Day meal.

Andrea Hereda Jenkins
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Zenon
PolishOrigins Team Leader


Joined: 28 Apr 2007
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Post Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:39 pm      Post subject:
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Wonderful, invaluable memories, Andrea.

Especially for you Polish kolęda Dzisiaj w Betlejem in two versions Smile:


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BrandiLynn



Joined: 04 Dec 2012
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:28 pm      Post subject:
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Wigilia has been a tradition in family every year. I feel so lucky to come from a family that keeps the tradition up and has passed it down from one generation to the next.

As a child, Wigilia always happened at my great grandma's (but she is just "Babci" to me.) The entire family would gather at Babci's as dusk drew near. The baby Jesus in the Nativity scene at Babci's was always placed in his manger during Christmas Eve. When the first star came out (as kids I can remember gazing outside at the sky to watch for stars) then the celebration would begin. Oplatek were handed out and we would go around breaking off pieces of the wafers, kissing and/or hugging, and wishing each other a Merry Christmas. A feast was then laid out on a white tablecloth- pierogies, white fish, sledzie, noodles, vegetables along with some traditional (more "american") Christmas foods- ham, kielbasa, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, and rolls. An extra spot was always left for the "Wandering Stranger". Prayers would be said, and then the eating began. Dessert consisted of traditional Christmas cookies, fudge, and pistachio salad, but also included the delicious and indulgent Polish Pound Cake. After dinner, the children would play and wait for a visit from Santa. Some years a relative would dress as Santa and come to hand out gifts, other years my grandfather would announce that he was taking over for Santa and pass out presents. All the gifts from and for the family were exchanged and opened on Christmas Eve ("Santa" would deliever gifts directly to the individual families homes that night so that the presents from Santa were opened up on Christmas morning, but we got to open up all the gifts from family on Christmas Eve.) After, we would spend some time enjoying one another's company before attending Mass (either at midnight or an earlier Mass at 9pm Christmas Eve for those with young children who couldn't stay up for midnight Mass.)

My Babci eventually handed over the Wigilia duties to my mom, and I am happy to note that we now carry on the tradition at my parent's house every year. My father, who is not Polish and did not grown up with the tradition, loves it more than anyone (he has also taken over the "Santa" gift passing out duties). He states it's his favorite day of the year, and my mom, sister, grandparents, and I could not agree more. My sister is thrilled to get to pass the tradition on and teach her young son about our Polish roots. I look forward to Wigilia more than any other day of the year.
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Zenon
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:58 am      Post subject:
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Thank you very much Brandi for sharing with us your beautiful memories Exclamation We wrote about it also for our FB members for them to have chance to read your post: http://www.facebook.com/PolishOrigins/posts/232561360208728 .
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stankieta



Joined: 31 Jan 2014
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Post Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:46 am      Post subject:
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I was exploring the Polish Origins website and found Magdalena’s article on Wigilia. That tradition has changed a bit over the years but, at least in Western Pennsylvania, it continues in many families including mine. Many of the Catholic churches around Johnstown still provide opĹatek (although we know it as Oplatki) and every year it seems the requests for the wafer outnumber the supply so we try to get ours early.

My grandparents brought the Wigilia tradition with them and it has passed now to 4 generations. My wife and I now celebrate it with our children and grandchildren. I must admit though that our celebration is a little different from the one that Magdalena described. Some of our Polish tradition has mixed with my mother’s Slovak heritage. Also most of the “fortune telling” that Magdelena described has been lost.

My wife still prepares some traditional recipes including pierogi, fish and Bobalki (sp?). My personal favorite is the mushroom soup. However, many of the guests we’ve invited over the years say that it is an acquired taste. My wife uses the same recipe that my grandmother used. I like to add a little vinegar to the soup for flavor. I learned that from my grandfather.

We used to open presents after supper when my grandparents were alive but now we wait until Christmas morning. We do go to midnight though. After mass I’m usually too tired to do anything but go home and sleep.

Wigilia always brings back fond memories.
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Aga Pawlus
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Joined: 10 Mar 2013
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Post Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:01 am      Post subject:
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I have found some good piece of information about Polish Christmas... presented not quite seriously.

Try this animated "Iinteractive Guide to Polish Christmas". Have fun!

http://www.polishchristmasguide.com/
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Zenon
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Joined: 28 Apr 2007
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:01 am      Post subject:
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We wish you all a Merry Christmas and great family discoveries in the New Year Exclamation Wesołych Świąt Exclamation

For this year Magdalena and Anna prepared four video presentations about how to prepare traditional Polish Christmas tree decorations (you will find them also in the emailing which is being sent out now to you all: http://blog.polishorigins.com/?wysija-page=1&controller=email&action=view&email_id=23&wysijap=subscriptions )

Now you can try by yourself or together with your kids and grand kids to make a few decorations for your Christmas tree Smile .


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Zenon
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Joined: 28 Apr 2007
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 6:25 am      Post subject:
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Today is Wigilia. We sent you our wishes through the newsletter: http://blog.polishorigins.com/?wysija-page=1&controller=email&action=view&email_id=50 as well as through our FB page: https://web.facebook.com/PolishOrigins/photos/a.10151634539758900.1073741826.256154928899/10154985888768900/ .

However, Forum is the place where we started PolishOrigins many years ago and it is still the main platform where we try to help each other in resolving our family history mysteries.

That's why also here, on behalf of the whole team, I send you our best wishes for you to have wonderful family time in the coming days and stay in good health for the whole coming 2017 Exclamation

Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia Exclamation Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku Exclamation



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Aga Pawlus
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Joined: 10 Mar 2013
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:55 am      Post subject:
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Just a short note for new members of our Forum: on our Blog you can find tho articles about Christmas:
First is about the traditions and customs of Wigilia (Christmas Eve): https://blog.polishorigins.com/christmas-eve-wigilia/
Second is about traditional decorations: https://blog.polishorigins.com/how-to-make-traditional-polish-christmas-decorations-video-tutorials/

Did you know about those traditions? Are you celebrating in Polish style with your families?
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