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CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION IN LITHUANIA IS VERY ELABORATE. ON CHRISTMAS
EVE, THE TABLE IS SET WITH A WHITE TABLECLOTH, 12 KINDS OF PREPARED
FISH AND IN THE CENTER--A HANDFUL OF STRAW UNDER THE TABLECLOTH, AND
DIRECTLY ON THAT, "PLOTKELES". "PLOTKELES" IS SIMILAR TO COMMUNION,
ONLY SQUARE, A PIECE OF SIZEABLE SIZE (MOSTLY 6 BY 4 INCHES). IN
LITHUANIAN, IT IS CALLED "KRISTAUS LAISKAS"--CHRIST'S LETTER. IT IS
A LETTER ANNOUNCING HIS BIRTH AND THAT HE WILL SAVE US.
WHEN EVERYONE IS SEATED, THEY SAY A PRAYER AND THEN, THE FATHER TAKES
ONE OF THE "LETTERS", HANDS IT TO THE MOTHER WHO BREAKS OFF A PIECE,
THEN TO THE NEXT OLDEST, ETC...SO ON DOWN THE LINE. THEN THE MOTHER
LETS EVERYONE BREAK OFF A PIECE FROM HER PIECE AND SO ON...
AFTER THE PASSING AROUND OF THE LETTER, THE EATING STARTS. THIS IS
THE ONE TIME THAT WE ARE NOT ALLOWED, BY LITHUANIAN CUSTOM, TO EAT
MEAT. WE PREPARE FISH 12 DIFFERENT WAYS: SMOKED HERRING, PICKLED
HERRING, WHITE FISH, OR ANY OTHER KINDS OF FISH. FISH AND VEGETABLES,
AS MUCH AS WE WANT--FOR DURING THE DAY WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED
TO EAT ANYTHING AT ALL. THERE ARE TO BE 12 VARIATIONS OF EACH FOOD:
12 FISH, 12 VEGETABLES, 12 FRUIT, 12 CAKES.
AFTER THE FISH AND VEGETABLES, THEN STARTS THE FRUITS AND SWEETS.
MOST OF THE CAKES ARE HOME BAKED, THE FRUITS MADE INTO A PUNCH OR A
FRUIT-BOWL.
TO FINISH OFF THE MEAL, THERE ARE THE TRADITIONAL "SLIZIKAI"--TASTE
JUST LIKE BREAD STICKS, ONLY THEY'RE SMALL AND ROUND. YOU PUT THEM
IN SWEET MILK (IN AMERICA--DILUTED PET MILK) AND THAT IS HOW YOU EAT
THEM.
AFTER DINNER, THERE ARE THE PRESENTS OPENING AND AFTER THAT, TIME TO
GO TO CHURCH.
WHEN YOU FIRST WALK INTO THE CHURCH, EVERYTHING IS TOTALLY DARK.
BUT AT EXACTLY MIDNIGHT--ALL THE CANDLES ARE LIT, THE CHIMES AND BELLS
START RINGING, AND THE CONGREGATION BEGINS TO SING. THERE IS A
PROCESSION AROUND THE CHURCH 3 TIMES; THEN THE PROCESSION OF THE
PRIEST, ALTAR BOYS AND GIRLS (THROW FLOWER PETALS IN FRONT OF THE
PRIEST) STOP IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH'S CRIB AND BEGIN TO PRAY. HE
PRAYS FOR THE POPE, THE PRIESTS AND NUNS, FOR THE PEOPLE , AND FOR
THE LITHUANIAN NATION (IN AMERICA, SO THAT THEIR FREEDOM WILL BE
RESTORED) (IN LITHUANIA AT THE PRESENT, THEY ARE UNABLE TO CELEBRATE
IN CHURCH). THEN HE BLESSES THE CONGREGATION WITH HOLY WATER AND THE
MASS BEGINS.
CHRISTMAS DAY IS USUALLY THE VISITING DAY OF FRIENDS AND RELATIVES.
WHEN THE PEOPLE USED TO VISIT, THEY ALWAYS BROUGHT SOMETHING ALONG,
EITHER SOME CAKES, OR CANDY OR A BOTTLE OF WINE AND A LOAF OF BREAD.
IT WAS CONSIDERED A DISGRACE TO GO VISITING AND NOT BRING SOMETHING.
THE CELEBRATING USUALLY LASTED FOR 3 DAYS, BUT NOW--FOR ONLY 1 OR 2
DAYS.

Where learned: LOCATION NOT RECORDED

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT ; FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Lights and candles
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Straw
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Gifts, gift giving at Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church
BELIEF -- Sign Color P680.1

Date learned: 03-25-1972

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WIGILIA - THE POLISH TRADITION OF A DINNER ON CHRISTMAS EVE

THE TABLE WAS COVERED WITH STRAW, THEN COVERED WITH A CLOTH.
A DINNER THEN WOULD BE SERVED WHICH CONSISTED OF 3, 7, 9, 11,
OR 13 COURSES. THE SIZE OF THE DINNER WOULD VARY DEPENDING
UPON THE FAMILY BUT THE NUMBER OF COURSES WAS ALWAYS AN ODD NUMBER. AN EXTRA CHAIR WAS ALWAYS PLACED AT THE TABLE IN THE
HOPE THAT THE CHRIST CHILD OR SOME POOR STRANGER WOULD JOIN THE
FAMILY AT THE MEAL.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT REMEMBERS A MODIFIED VERSION OF THIS DINNER IN HER
POLISH HOME IN MANITOBA, CANADA IN THE EARLY 1900'S.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Christmas

View just this record

CUSTOM-UKRAINIAN

THERE IS NO MEAT EATEN ON CHRISTMAS EVE, BUT A SPECIAL
12 COURSE DINNER IS SERVED ON CHRISTMAS DAY.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT ; CHRISTMAS ; FOOD ; FOOD CUSTOM ; tradition ; UKRAINIAN

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
122 Christmas

Date learned: 10-31-1968

View just this record

CHRISTMAS IS A BELOVED HOLIDAY FOR POLISH PEOPLE. BEGINNING AT
SUNDOWN THE FAMILY SITS DOWN TO THE EVENING MEAL. THIS MEAL IS
MEATLESS AND CONSISTS OF NINE COURSES. WHEN THE FIRST EVENING
STAR APPEARS THE MEAL BEGINS. STRAW IS PLACED UNDERNEATH
A WHITE TABLECLOTH TO SIGNIFY CHRIST'S BIRTH IN A MANGER. A
CHRISTMAS WAFER CALLED "OPLATEK" IS SHARED WITH EACH MEMBER
OF THE FAMILY BEGINNING WITH THE FATHER. GOOD HEALTH, GOD'S
BLESSINGS AND JOY IS EXTENDED TO ALL. THIS COMPLETED, THE MEAL
BEGINS. THE SOUP IS CREAMED MUSHROOM. FOLLOWING WE HAVE PIEROGI
(DUMPLINGS) WITH CABBAGE OR POTATO AND CHEESE. WE ALSO HAVE A
VARIETY OF FISH. COLD HERRING, FISH IN GELATIN (GALARECIE),
BAKED FISH, RYE BREAD AND SAUR KRAUT (SAUERKRAUT) PREPARED WITH
MUSHROOMS. COFFEE AND BABKA FOR DESERT. AFTER THE PEOPLE RETURN
FROM MIDNIGHT MASS THEY BRING OUT THE BAKED HAM AND HOMEMADE
KIELBASA WHICH EVERY GOOD POLACK MAKES HIMSELF AND THEY EAT, DRINK
AND MAKE MERRY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT ; FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 686.1.9
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 11-10-1971

View just this record

CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER ALWAY(S) CONSISTED OF OYSTER STEW AND
WHITE WINE.

Submitter comment:

(GRANDMOTHER'S CUSTOM)

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; FOOD ; FOOD CUSTOM ; holiday ; Oyster ; SEAFOOD ; Wine

Subject headings: 122 Christmas

Date learned: UNKNOWN

View just this record

BREAKFAST BEFORE CHRISTMAS

THE FIRST MEAL ON THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS THE POLISH PEOPLE
HAD ONLY A GLASS OF JUICE AND A PIECE OF BREAD. THEY DID THIS
AS THE LAST DAY OF THEIR FASTING BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN THE
SEASON OF ADVENT. IT WAS ALSO A MEANS OF SAVING FOR THE COMING
FEAST IN CELEBRATION OF THE ARRIVAL OF CHRIST.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: DETROIT

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE ; CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday

Subject headings: 122 Christmas

Date learned: 00-00-1968

View just this record

VIGILIA

CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER SHOULD BE WITH THE ENTIRE FAMILY AT THE MOTHER'S
HOUSE--CALLED VIGILIA. THERE SHOULD BE 13 DIFFERENT DISHES
SERVED AND EACH PERSON SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST ONE OF EACH ITEM.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; ERIE

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; Dinner ; FOOD ; holiday ; tradition ; Vigilia

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Specific number by specific number being described

Date learned: 00001920'S

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"FOOD FOR CHRISTMAS EVE"

IT IS A POLISH CUSTOM THAT ON CHRISTMAS EVE AT THE SUPPER TABLE
THERE SHOULD BE NINE (9) DIFFERENT TYPES OF FOOD TO EAT.
EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING TO EAT. THIS
IS DONE TO BRING GOOD LUCK INTO THE HOME.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; LUCK ; POLISH

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Ninths / Nine

Date learned: 09-22-1969

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UKRAINIAN CUSTOM

CHRISTMAS EVE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN CHRISTMAS. A SPECIAL DINNER
WOULD TAKE PLACE ON CHRISTMAS EVE CONSISTING OF SPECIAL FOODS
LIKE PANCAKES, MUCHROOMS (MUSHROOMS), POPPY SEEDS AND OTHER
REGIONAL FOODS. ONE CANDLE WAS LIT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TABLE.
THERE WAS NO MEAT OF ANY FORM SERVED ON THIS DAY.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT IS AN UKRAINIAN-AMERICAN WHO PRACTICED THIS CUSTOM
DURING HER CHILDHOOD.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PONTIAC

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT ; CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; Ukraine ; Vegetarian

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Lights and candles

Date learned: 10-02-1971

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CHRISTMAS

THE SUPPER ON CHRISTMAS EVE ALWAYS STRICTLY EXCLUDES ALL MEAT
AND DAIRY PRODUCTS.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT LEARNED THIS PASSED ALONG FROM GENERATIONS.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM DAIRY PRODUCTS ; ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT ; CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; Vegan ; Vegetarian

Subject headings: 122 Christmas

Date learned: 11-19-1967

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AMOUNT OF FOOD ON THE TABLE

AT THE FESTIVE MEAL ON CHRISTMAS EVE THE PEOPLE IN POLAND
WERE ONLY ALLOWED TO HAVE A CERTAIN NUMBER OF ITEMS OF FOOD
ON THE TABLE. AT FIRST THE NUMBER WAS NINE BUT THAN (THEN) IT
WAS CHANGED, EVENTUALLY TO 13. THE NUMBER COULD NOT BE EVEN
IT ALWAYS HAD TO BE AN ODD NUMBER.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Specific number by specific number being described
686 Ninths / Nine
BELIEF -- Number Odd number (not specific)

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

MANY POLISH PEOPLE EAT ONLY CERTAIN FOODS ON CHRISTMAS EVE (DEC. 24).
THESE FOODS CONSISTS (CONSIST) OF FISH, CHEESE, EGGS, BREAD,
FRUIT, SALT AND PEPPER, AND MILK.

Submitter comment:

THE INFORMANT PRACTICES THIS CUSTOM EVERY YEAR.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; POLISH ; tradition

Subject headings: 122 Christmas

Date learned: 11-07-1971

View just this record

CHRISTMAS

THERE IS A POLISH CUSTOM THAT THE MEAL EATEN ON CHRISTMAS EVE DAY IS
TO BE A MEATLESS MEAL. THIS MEAL IS CALLED "VIGELIA" BY THE POLES.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT ; CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; POLISH ; tradition ; Vegetarian

Subject headings: 122 Christmas

Date learned: 03-19-1970

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CHRISTMAS EVE CUSTOM

A POLISH FAMILY SERVES 12 VARIETIES OF DISHES FOR CHRISTMAS EVE
SUPPER. IT IS CALLED VIGILIA.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; POLISH ; tradition

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Seconds / Twice / Two

Date learned: 11-00-1965

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CHRISTMAS FOOD

POLISH CATHOLICS ABSTAIN FROM MEAT ON CHRISTMAS EVE BUT HAVE NINE
TRADITIONAL FOODS WHICH ARE: SOUP, HERRING, BARLEY, FISH,
DUMPLINGS, PRUNES, PIEROGI, MUSHROOMS, AND BREAD.

Submitter comment:

(AT A POLISH FAMILY DINNER )

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT ; CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; POLISH ; tradition

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Ninths / Nine

Date learned: 02-00-1970

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM (POLISH)

A POLISH CUSTOM ON CHRISTMAS EVE IS THAT THE FAMILY MUST EAT NINE
DIFFERENT KINDS OF FOOD TO REPRESENT THE NINE MONTHS OF WAITING
FOR THE BIRTH OF THE CHRIST CHILD.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROSEVILLE

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; POLISH ; tradition

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing F686.1

Date learned: 09-00-1969

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FOOD

ON CHRISTMAS EVE ELEVEN DIFFERENT DISHES ARE PREPARED. THESE ARE
TRADITIONAL POLISH FOODS USUALLY LEFT UP TO THE DECISION OF THE
HOSTESS AS TO WHAT WILL BE SERVED. THE ONLY DISH WHICH MUST BE
SERVED IS THAT OF ANGEL BREAD.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HAMTRAMCK

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; POLISH ; tradition

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82
BELIEF -- Number P686.1.11

Date learned: 03-21-1971

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HOLIDAY CUSTOM

IT IS AN ITALIAN CUSTOM NEVER TO EAT MEAT ON CHRISTMAS EVE, BUT
TO EAT MANY VARIETIES OF FISH AND THIN SPIGETTI (SPAGHETTI) WITH
OLIVE OIL AND FISH SAUCE.

Submitter comment:

THIS CUSTOM GOES BACK TO SOUTHERN ITALY WHERE THE INFORMANT'S
PARENTS CAME FROM AND WAS TOLD TO THE INFORMANT BY HER MOTHER.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: NEW YORK ; PORT CHESTER

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT ; CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; Italian ; tradition

Subject headings: 122 Christmas

Date learned: 11-28-1970

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THE UKRAINIAN CHRISTMAS EVE SUPPER IS A TWELVE-COURSE MEAL. THE
TWELVE SYMBOLIZES THE NUMBER OF APOSTLES OF CHRIST, WHO
GATHERED G
GATHERED FOR THE LAST SUPPER.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; UKRAINIAN

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Seconds / Twice / Two

Date learned: 10-00-1970

View just this record

CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

ON CHRISTMAS EVE, AT THE TIME WHEN THE FASTING LAWS WERE IN
EFFECT, MY FAMILY WOULD HAVE A SPECIAL DINNER WHERE ALL THESE
DIFFERENT TYPES OF MEATLESS DISHES WERE PREPARED. EACH PERSON
HAD TO EAT AT LEAST 9 DIFFERENT TYPES OF FOOD AT THIS DINNER IN
HONOR OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST. WHY THE NUMBER 9, I DO NOT KNOW,
BUT THE EXPERIENCE IS VERY VIVID IN MY MIND SINCE I NEVER DID LIKE
ANY OF THE DISHES WHICH WERE SERVED.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT ; CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; holiday ; tradition ; Vegetarian

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Ninths / Nine

Date learned: NOT RECORDED

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