Wigilia – Celebrate the Holidays in Poland
Rich Cultural Experiences Await on our Polish Christmas Tour
Without a doubt, my favorite feature of YourDestinationPoland’s Polish Christmas Tour is the opportunity to share the beloved holiday traditions of my youth with our intimate group of clientele.
On our very special Christmas Tour, we celebrate Christmas Eve with a special holiday dinner, or Wigilia with our travel party. Before that beautiful and meaningful feast, the children in our group will participate in decorating a Christmas Tree with candies wrapped in brightly-colored foil.
Wigilia is a meaningful time in Poland as we believe that whatever happens on that sacred night is a sign of what is to come in the following year. Some families in Poland celebrate by placing straw under a white tablecloth. The unmarried women at the table then pull a blade of straw from under the cloth. A green straw predicts marriage, a yellow one spinsterhood, and a withered one suggests waiting.
When our guests sit down to the feast of Wigilia, they may notice an extra seat at the table. This is because in Poland, we believe that no one should be alone on Christmas, so it is meant to indicate that all are welcome, even strangers, at a Polish Wigilia dinner. It also serves as a reminder to celebrating families that Mary and Joseph were without a place to stay on that sacred night.
While the people of Poland welcome Santa Claus (or St. Nicholas) on December 6, on our Christmas Tour, we ensure all guests receive a gift from the festive character. We like to say, “Santa Loves us All.” We will give these gifts following the special meal of Wigilia.
Another important Polish tradition that takes place on the Wigilia, is the breaking and sharing of the oplatek, a thin, flour-based wafer. On our special night, we will share this tradition, breaking the wafer and wishing each member of our traveling party the best for the coming year. This ceremonial tradition is typically started with the appearance of the first star on Christmas Eve. While native to Poland, the tradition is carried on worldwide by those with Polish ancestry, and it remains one of my favorite Christmas traditions.
Christmas Day in Poland is a quiet holiday, as families stay home together to celebrate the birth of the Christ child. On our tour, we honor this tradition by offering an unscheduled day for our guests to explore with their families, relax in their lodging or celebrate any way they see fit.
The historic, meaningful, spiritual and colorful Christmas traditions that accompany the Polish culture are so much fun to partake in and to share with our travelers. I sincerely hope you will consider bringing your family to experience the beauty of the Christmas season in my homeland.