Culturally my family is Polish, among a mess of other things. So being an American mutt, I get the fun of being able to pick various things from the range of backgrounds that will form the traditions and customs of my family. As such there are bits of this and bits of that tempered with a little seasoning from our travels along the way. One thing that we do eat year for Christmas is we share a special meal together on Christmas Eve called Wigilia. (It is pronounced vi’ gila, well, that’s how wikipedia wrote out the pronunciation).
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not die hard that we must do everything the traditional way, so please don’t read this and think that it is the full and complete and proper way of doing Wigilia, it is merely my way of celebrating. If you look at other sites you’ll see that there should be a certain number of courses and there will be certain things that should be made at each course. Not so much at my home.
First off is the spotting of the Christmas star. We always send the youngest person present out to locate a star before the meal begins. Now at times the youngest person is sent with some helpful spotters to move things along. Also due to weather, light pollution and the like, at times the “star” may be played by a helicopter, light from someone else’s house or so on, you get the picture.
The first thing before anyone sits down is that everyone has a piece of a wafer known as oplatek. You take your piece and share a small bit with everyone else at the table while wishing them a Merry Christmas. Unofficially, the “winner” is the person who ends up with the smallest bit of oplatek after seeing everyone. The stuff has about no flavour and at the end of wishing everyone well you normally eat what is left of your piece.
Then you sit down for the meal. It is a meatless meal, but meatless in the sense that fish don’t count as meat for this. We some years will do fish, other years will do a pasta dish or some other meatless option. The thing is that what is served at the meal isn’t as important as being there. It is a time to gather together with your family to just enjoy the company of one another for this Christmas season, it happens before the giving of presents and all of that on Christmas morning. Normally afterwards people will sit and talk for some time. After all of that we normally head to Midnight Mass.
But that is a little of our tradition, how about yours? What things do you do for the holidays?