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On Christmas Eve in Poland, many families share oplatek (an unleavened religious wafer), each person breaking off a piece as they wish each other Merry Christmas.
Similarly, at Easter we share boiled eggs that are sprinkled with holy water by the priest.
It used to be that Wigilia (Christmas Eve) dinner could not begin until the first star appeared in the night sky, but now in many in cities we can’t see many stars! Traditionally, an extra setting is still left at the table – just in case someone shows up uninvited.
There is also a tradition to put a handful of hay under the tablecloth to commemorate the fact that Jesus was born in a stable.
Many people visit their families. We Poles ski a lot, so many people go skiing during the Christmas holidays in Poland, but also in the Alps.
Well, most kids (and some adults!) would say getting presents! There is a lovely tradition of organising kolędowanie (singing carols). Many families throw a big party just for singing carols all evening (if you don’t sing, you don’t get a dessert!). In Poland, people spend Christmas holidays with their family, but our kolędowanie tradition enables us to also celebrate Christmas with friends.
Our unemployment rate is the lowest in the past 30 years. The mean salary also increased in 2021. For the 2020/2021 academic year there are 1.2 million students in Poland – so it seems that, against all odds, 2021 was a good year!
That the pandemic will stop and everything will go back to normal.