Christmas traditions and superstitions.
Eve is a night before holiday, when we began celebration. The most popular is Christmas Eve. In addition to religious meaning, Christmas Eve also has important commercial significance. This is of course related to the custom of giving a gift that day, but also with the media industry. After Christmas Eve, whole families sit in front of the TV and watch the Christmas schedule. Many people can’t imagine Christmas without favorite movie e.g. “ Home alone” , or “ Love actually”. Christmas Eve has taken on a mystical character, a period when even the worst bastard becomes good, all people unite and the singles find their second halves. Of course, reality is usually less colorful, but people still want to believe that everything is possible on this day. On Christmas Eve day, and supper involves a series of beliefs and superstitions. Above all, there is a superstition that what a Christmas Eve such a whole year. Therefore, you should avoid feuds and all kinds of bad deeds, and you should not leave the table during Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve dishes also have their magical significance. Above all, their number – 12 as many as the apostles. You have to try each one of them, otherwise it heralds a crop failure next year. Christmas Eve is traditionally begins with a prayer and the reading of the Gospel of St. Luke. Then follows the breaking of the wafer, which is distributed by the senior family. Christmas Eve is a time of wishes and reconciliation, so you should share with every household member, even those with whom we are odds. There is also a special colored wafer for animals, which we should also show our kindness on that day. Especially that there is a superstition that the midnight start speaking with a human voice.
Traditional Christmas Eve dishes should of course be fast. That’s what the clergy say, although it is a custom practiced only in Poland. A popular soup for Christmas Eve supper is a red borscht with dumplings. Of course, the dumplings do not contain meat, they have mushroom fillings. Alternately, in different Polish regions, instead of borscht, a wholemeal zurek, mushroom soup or fish soup is served. Of course, on the Christmas Eve table cannot miss the cabbage with peas, mushroom sauce, dumpling or stuffed cabbage. Pieces, patties with mushrooms and noodles with poppy seeds are also popular. Certainly on this day you cannot miss fish dishes. The most popular is fried carp, but also other fish are served. For dessert, kutia is served, and to drink compote of dried fruits. There are also many traditional cakes that cannot be missed on Christmas. They are poppy seed cake (poppy seed it brings good luck), gingerbreads and fruitcake. After Christmas Eve in many homes sounds carols , and the faces of family members enjoying the gifts received. Unless someone was rude, then traditional instead of a present he finds a rod under the Christmas tree.
On Christmas Eve, you can ensure your happiness and success for next year. You just must find a penny, placed in the dumplings for a borscht, or putting a shell of Christmas Eve carp in your wallet. In Warmia and Masuria, people may foretell in these day with straws pulled under the tablecloths. It is good to draw a straight and long straw, it heralds a long life without worries. Straws short or bent is a bad omen, it announces problems and disease. Happiness and health wish you pałaźnicy- the boys who are the first to visit houses on the Christmas morning. If the first person visiting the house at Christmas was a woman, it would mean misfortune. Christmas Eve is also a time of ghosts. Until the nineteenth century, it was believed that this day the house was visited by the souls of the deceased, who sit together with the household members for the Christmas supper. It was left for them to cover an empty place, which now is left for a lost wanderer. In Podlasie, people still believe in the presence of the deceased who visit the house on the night of Christmas Eve. It is for them to leave leftovers from dinner near the stove, set the bench beside him, sprinkled with ash and sand, and in the morning checks in the footsteps of the dead who came to supper. No matter how much truth is in Christmas Eve superstitions and beliefs, many of them have survived for hundreds of years creating an aura of mysticism around that day. Although nowadays few believe in happiness pulled out together with a straw, or women who bring bad luck, these customs remained creating the tradition of Christmas Eve.