For many people around the world, Christmas is a special time of the year. However, unlike in most countries, in Poland, we start celebrating today, on Christmas Eve.
Right about now Polish families are having their festive supper after a day of fasting. When they finish, kids will start unwrapping their presents. That's right, we don't wait until the morning!
During the supper, it's often a point of the discussion who actually brings the gifts. For some, it isn't Santa, as we celebrate the St. Nicholas's Day on December 6. Different regions of Poland traditionally have a different gifter: the Angel, the Christmas Star, Father Christmas (more accurately translated as 'Grandpa Frost') or even Baby Jesus himself.
What's common across the country is the fact that the Christmas Eve supper should include 12 dishes, although the specifics vary from family to family. We decided to take a poll and see what are the most common and uncommon delicacies among our team.
Most of us enjoy fried carp, herring in various forms, sauerkraut with mushrooms, borsch with dumplings and stewed dried fruit. Also quite popular are the mushroom soup and sauerkraut with dried peas. At the same time, there are lots of family-specific dishes. These include fish soup, dumplings, poppy seed dish or cake, salads, gingerbread or fruitcake.
One very specific snack is a Silesian dessert called moczka—a thick pulp made mostly with gingerbread, prunes, raisins, and nuts. It's prepared on some kind of a liquid base, which today is usually dried fruit soup or beer; however, the traditional recipe calls for... fish soup.
It's amazing how similar yet different are our Christmas traditions. Their variety reminds us that if people are so different and interesting within a single country, we can't begin to imagine how beautifully diverse the world really is. We'd love it if you shared your traditions with us.
Wherever you are, and whether you celebrate Christmas or not, let us wish you all the best.The Wanderlust Team