Old customs connected with Polish
Christmas have flourished
for years in the countryside, the city's have retained but a few. On
Christmas Eve there are a lot fortunes told and customs performed for the
following year. Most are related to weather, health, matrimonial status and are
observed on this day to ensure a plentiful year.
customs related to health of the person
- Once you wake up, better not go back to
bed - this will certainly bring illness.
- A dry crust of bread and a coin
placed in a basin with cold water ensures plenty of food and physical strength
for the following year
- The first person entering the house on this morning should be a man to
guarantee health for the whole household; a woman entering would mean
- Christmas tree decorations: apples bring beauty and health,
ornaments made out of straw bring wealth, nuts bring happiness and
- A sneeze that day guarantees
- Teeth polished with garlic guarantees
- Apples eaten at supper on this day prevents
throat infection, and nuts are eaten for a toothache.
- After supper,
animals are fed the leftovers and a piece of the oplatek wafer to ensure their
health and fine offspring.
- Place a piece of iron under the Christmas Eve
table for everybody to touch to make sure their legs are strong and
Weather, wealth and marriage were very important in the lives
of the whole villages, so some if not a majority of the customs were strictly observed
Christmas Eve day guarantees lots of eggs as well as a marriage for young and
poor; cloudy, a lot of milk and marriage to the old and wealthy.
cleaning fish, do not throw scales away - put them in your wallet and they will
bring wealth. Also, you may place scales in a red sack. Nail it to the door - it
will bring love.
- Sweeping floors should be done ``from the door" as not
to sweep young men away.
- On the way to Midnight mass, young people read
fortunes out of picket fences: tall, short, thick, thin...
- Every dish
had to be tasted; if not, it brought bad harvest to a certain product.
- Place straw under the tablecloth - it will bring wealth. Also, unmarried girls
will be able to tell fortune on their future marriage
- long and green straw
will bring a speedy marriage, blackened blade meant a long wait, yellow blade
meant staying single forever.
- Everybody had to have coins on them at
supper - brought wealth.
- Christmas Eve supper has to have twelve
different dishes for each month of the year to ensure wealthy year..
visit a neighbor and try to steal a small item - this will ensure wealth for
you. You have to return an item on St. Stephen's Day (Dec. 26).
- By the
end of the supper, eat an apple and count the seeds - an even number fortells
great love, and more than six seeds means a wedding is guaranteed.
unmarried girls are at the table, ask them to place a piece of fish on the floor
and then let the dog into the room. The girl whose piece he eats first is the
girl who gets married first.
- After a mass on St. Stephen's day (12/26),
people threw wheat or rice at each other. This was to bring good harvest and
wealth in coming year.
- There was a
belief that on Christmas Eve water in a well turned into wine.
midnight, animals speak human voices, but it is bad luck to overhear them.
- Winning at card game that day brings happiness for the whole year.
a region threatened by wolves, leftovers from Christmas Eve supper was placed
outside the gate to invite the wolves, which when treated well, would not harm
- One plate at the table was always left for the dead
relative or an unexpected visitor.
- There was no leaving the table at supper; it supposed to bring
bad luck or even death.
- Before sundown, everything from the outside had
to be brought into the house. Anything brought after supper was going to be
eaten by mice.
- Mistletoe was cut off, dipped in wax, and placed in a
beehive to bring a lot of honey.
- People make sure they wake up early on
Christmas Eve - this will ensure we will never be late.
- After supper,
tie all the dirty spoons together - it will ensure that the family will stay
- After supper is also the time to blow out the candles - if the
smoke goes towards the window it foretells the birth of a baby. If it goes up, a
wedding. Towards the door indicates a funeral.
- No spanking of children,
this will bring problems to them.
- Do not lend anything,
you will be
missing this thing all year round.
- Do not leave laundry on the line,
this is guaranteed to bring problems over from one year to the next.
have to have candles on the table. Each person has to see their shadow on the
wall,a lack of shadow means death in coming year.
- When sitting down to
supper, blow on your chair, you may sit on a ghost that came to join you for
- Christmas Eve night was not quiet and calm. That night, after
dead souls were fed, they were thrown out of the house by pot and table