Christmas is the second most important feast of the Christian calendar, the most important being Easter Sunday.Poland Christmas Eve is traditionally a bigger celebration than Christmas Day in Poland.The first ceremony of Christmas day takes place at 8am, where Solemn Lauds (or morning prayer) are sung in English. At ten o’clock on Christmas morning there is a simple, quiet celebration called Dawn Mass. At noon, the monks gather for their Solemn Community Mass, which is sung in Gregorian chant.Lunch on Christmas day is at 1.15pm and is followed by some quiet time in the afternoon.What Aleksandra misses most about Christmas in Poland is the big family gathering and the music-making after Christmas dinner. What Lukasz, working and studying in Dublin, misses most besides family is the glistening Christmas-card weather.
A wafer called Christmas Wafer is passed to each family member, who breaks off a piece and makes a wish before eating it, then passes it to the person next to them.
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One charming Christmas dinner custom in Poland is that of setting an extra place at table, symbolically indicating that no one, including strangers, should go hungry at Christmas. Dinner traditionally consists of no fewer than 12 dishes – and Irish mammies thought they had it bad – mostly involving carp.
Borscht, a spicy red beetroot soup, is served for the first course, although some regions serve mushroom soup instead.