In Polish tradition, the Christmas season is 40 days long from Dec 25-Feb 2 Candlemas. These days celebrate the Gospel stories of Christ's birth. Nativity scenes and Christmas trees grace churches and homes throughout this joyful season.
This book discusses the holiest day in the Polish family beginning with the youngest sighting the first star of Christmas Eve on Dec 24. Families serve an ancient ritual meal, called the Vigil Supper or Wigilia: an intimate evening celebration, Poland's joyous treasure, a true living heirloom.
The family table is set to commemorate Jesus’ first crib, Bethlehem’s Manger in a stable: a white tablecloth under which lies a thin layer. One empty chair is reserved for any stranger, in memorial of deceased family members,. Or Christ himself.
Before eating the meatless meal, all present share the Christmas wafer, opłatek a rite bonding ages families. All hard feelings from the past year are forgotten, all transgressions are forgiven, good wishes and dreams for the coming year are exchanged.
The book is replete with traditional heritage recipes for food, desserts and drink, including the author’s family’s famous honey cordial or krupnik, from across the US and Europe.
It surveys the customs of the Christmas Eve Vigil Supper including: the first Polish ornament, straw ritual art, directions for caroling stars and manger scenes not found elsewhere and adapted to present day use.
The Polish carol crowns this evening reminding all that Christ came to us "In midnight stillness". English adaptations to the original Polish lyrics along with musical notation. On this evening, the family literally welcomes Jesus to their table to celebrate the greatest birthday of all, the festival of our salvation at the family table.
This book is a quick and easy reference, step-by-step guide and international collection of folklore, stories, recipes, carols and decorations with never before published vintage photos from the USA, Europe and the National Museum of Enthnography, Warsaw Poland, and black and white illustrations, glossary, pronunciation guide, and a regional map threat of Poland. It features everything you’ll ever need for the celebration except the groceries.