Christmas is getting closer and closer. As every year, we dream about snow-white family holidays. We can not wait to decorate the Christmas tree, taste delicious dishes and open the presents. But what is the most important we are waiting for these few magical days to spent with family and loved ones.
Polish Christmas Traditions
Polish Christmas in Zakopane are magical. Snow-covered streets, beautiful decorations and sleigh rides with torches. In every traditional inn you can hear highlanders’ songs, see traditional dancing and taste hot wine. There is a unique Christmas atmosphere.
Each region of Poland has its own Christmas customs, in Tatra Mountains we also have our own Christmas traditions;
Christmas precedes Advent, in which according to tradition one should not eat meat and fats and only use milk for dishes. Alcohol is also forbidden. In the past, these were usually strictly observed, today a little less.
As stressed by Stanisław Łukaszczyk from Murzasichle, a village neighboring with us, in the highlander tradition the first guest of Christmas Eve should be a man. On this festive day, you should also not borrow fools or money. The custom of decorating and setting a Christmas tree came to the mountains together with the first tourists who lived in Zakopane. Similarly, in Podhale there was no habit of eating fish.
Polish Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve is the most important night of the year. Many of the customs that apply to this day are related to marriage; Girls after the dinner run to the pigsty, and then move the door three times. It is believed that depending on how many times the pig will make a sound, in so many years the girl will get married. According to the custom, girls also throw bone or calf legs at the same time and then they call the dog. This girl whose bone will catch the first animal will lose innocence. Another way to tell about getting married is by bringing wood. After counting the pieces, an even number means a husband. After eating dinner and going outside, you should shout. From the side from which the voice will bounce or the dog will speak – her future husband will come.
The number of stars in the sky during Christmas Eve symbolizes for the housewives, a multitude of eggs next year. The hosts are also looking at the sky this evening. For them, empty sky means empty tables, while clouds mean good years.
The family sits down to supper when the first star appears in the sky. In the highlander tradition, ‘the gazda’ (host) brings to the room a sheaf of hay that he puts next to the table. After the Sunday of the Three Kings, the sheaf was threshed, and the seed was used for the first sowing.
On the Christmas Eve table there should be 12 dishes and one additional covering, and now it is prepared for an unexpected guest. During this special evening, you can not run out of hay under the tablecloth – the symbol of the birth of Jesus in a stable; a sheaf of grain located in the corner of the room, which will ensure full yield for the new year, and a hanging under the ceiling ‘podłaźniczki’ – branches of fir protecting from bad powers. For the fir to work, it must have the shape of a cross.
The supper begins with host breaking the wafer with the others and giving them wishes. The remains of dishes after supper are given to animals. Hay, which is under the tablecloth, is added to the daily cattle feed, “which would hide well.” On this day you can not argue so that the whole year is calm. This is also the day when the housekeeper puts flax on all the spindles in the house, so that the whole year has something to spin. Neither work nor visits to neighbors are allowed either. At midnight, everybody must go to the Midnight Mass, which is a solemn Holy Mass in highlander setting. At Christmas, you can not visit others or do any work. The visit is about the next day, on St. Stephen’s feast. Until the Three Kings it is a time of common caroling by children who, dressed up, knock on the door of houses and sing Christmas carols.
Polish Christmas at Villa Gorsky is a wonderful experience. Interiors beautifully decorated with decorations, popping wood in the fireplace and snowy fields and meadows. As every year, we invite you to spend this family Christmas with us. There are many attractions waiting for guests like a sleigh ride with torches ending with a bonfire and regional delicacies. For guests, at Christmas Eve we will prepare special meal and after it Santa Claus will presents gifts to children. You can find our offer here