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ON CHRISTMAS EVE, JUST BEFORE EATING, EACH PERSON IS GIVEN A LARGE
PIECE OF WAFER (BLESSED AT CHURCH) TO SHARE WITH EACH OTHER, WISHING
GOOD HEALTH AND LUCK FOR THE COMING YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 10-07-1972

View just this record

ON CHRISTMAS MORNING, AFTER MIDNIGHT MASS, OUR FAMILY ATE WHAT WE CALLED
ANGEL BREAD. (IT WAS A KIND OF UNLEAVENED BREAD THAT HAD BEEN BLESSED.)

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector are the same person.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals
BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: 10-07-1972

View just this record

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

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

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

View just this record

POLISH CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

THE CHRISTMAS EVE SUPPER CONSISTED OF THE TRADITIONAL RED BEET
SOUP CALLED "KIVAS" SERVED ONLY WITH WHITE SLENDER EGG-NOODLES.
HERRING FISH CALLED "SLEDZIE" AND ONLY ONE PIECE OF WHITE HOMEMADE
BREAD WERE ALSO SERVED. THESE WERE THE ONLY THINGS ON THE TABLE.
WHITE DISHES COULD ONLY BE USED TOO. OPLATKI (UNLEAVED (UNLEAVENED)
BREAD) WAS SERVED FIRST. EVERYONE SHARED THEIR PIECE WITH EVERYONE
ELSE. THE BREAD SLICE WAS CALLED "CZERWONI KIVAS" AND WAS ONLY
ONE PER PERSON.

Submitter comment:

MY MOTHER TOLD ME ABOUT THIS CUSTOM. SHE HEARD IT FROM HER
GRANDMOTHER MRS. KATHERINE ANDZYEWSKI IN TOLEDO ABOUT 1930. SHE
WAS 60 AT THE TIME AND DIED 13 YEARS LATER.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

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

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82

Date learned: NOT RECORDED

View just this record

THE TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS EVE SUPPER (POLISH TRADITION)

A GROUP OF RELATIVES AND FRIENDS WOULD BE INVITED TO PARTAKE
OF SEVEN, NINE, OR ELEVEN MEATLESS FOODS (ALWAYS AN ODD NUMBER).
THE MEAL USUALLY CONSISTED OF SOUPS, DUMPLINGS, FISH, PICKLED
HERRING, BOILED POTATOES, SAUR KRAUT (SAUERKRAUT) WITH MUSHROOMS,
BOILED RICE, COOKED PRUNES. THE TABLE WAS COVERED WITH A
TABLECLOTH, WITH SOME STRAW UNDERNEATH, THERE PRESENTS FOR THE
CHILDREN WOULD BE HIDDEN. THE CHILDREN WERE NOT ALLOWED TO
LOOK FOR THEM UNTIL AFTER THE DINNER. AT THE MEAL EVERYONE WOULD
TAKE A PIECE OF ANGEL BREAD (WAFER) AND SHARE IT WITH OTHERS,
WISHING THEM GOOD HEALTH AND LUCK FOR THE COMING YEAR.

Submitter comment:

SOME PEOPLE STILL PRACTICE THIS CUSTOM TODAY.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; RESIDENCE ; DETROIT

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

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
686 Ninths / Nine
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Gifts, gift giving at Christmas
BELIEF -- Number P686.1.11
BELIEF -- Number Odd number (not specific)

Date learned: NOT RECORDED

View just this record

Ethnic: Polish

IN POLAND, AND IN MANY POLISH-AMERICAN HOMES, THE VIGIL OF
CHRISTMAS IS A VERY SOLEMN OCCASION. A VARIETY OF FOOD IS SERVED,
TWELVE DISHES IN ALL, TO REPRESENT THE TWELVE APOSTLES. NO DAIRY
PRODUCTS ARE ALLOWED. IT ALSO CONSISTS OF SPECIAL WAFERS CALLED
OPTATKI, WHICH THE HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD DISTRIBUTES TO EACH
MEMBER OF THE FAMILY.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated / 02-24-2011 / TRD

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE ; CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; DAIRY ; Dinner ; ETHNIC ; FAMILY ; Feast ; FOOD ; holiday ; POLAND ; POLISH ; SYMBOL ; Symbolic ; Vigil

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82

Date learned: 10-27-1968

View just this record

CHRISTMAS CUSTOM (POLISH)

ON CHRISTMAS EVE THE FAMILY SITS DOWN AT THE TABLE AND EATS A MEAL
THAT DOES NOT CONSIST OF MEAT. THEY FAST ON THIS NIGHT. BEFORE
THEY EAT THEY ALL BREAK A BLESSED WAFER AND WISH GOOD FORTUNE
TO EVERYONE.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; DEARBORN HEIGHTS, ASSUMED

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

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82

Date learned: 11-12-1968

View just this record

VIGIL OF CHRISTMAS

ON CHRISTMAS EVE THERE WOULD BE A FAMILY GATHERING FOR DINNER.
EVERYONE WOULD BREAD (EAT?) OPLATKI (WAFER BREAD). FOR DINNER
THERE WOULD BE THIRTEEN DIFFERENT DISHES INCLUDING: CABBAGE, TWO
KINDS OF FISH, RICE PUDDING, TWO KINDS OF BOILED BEANS, PIEROGI,
STEWED PRUNES, AND NOODLES WITH OIL AND POPPYSEED.
STRAW WAS OFTEN STREWN UNDER THE TABLE.

Submitter comment:

(PRACTICED) IN DETROIT ALTHOUGH COLLECTOR'S GRANDMOTHER KNEW
AS A CUSTOM IN POLAND.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

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

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Specific number by specific number being described
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Straw

Date learned: 03-00-1968

View just this record

"VEGALIA"

THERE IS A POLISH CUSTOM CELEBRATED ON CHRISTMAS EVE CALLED
VEGALIA. AT A HUGE MEAL, WHERE ONLY FISH IS SERVED (ALSO OTHER FOOD
SUCH AS CHADNINA-DUCK SOUP; SALADS ETC.) THERE IS A GREAT
CELEBRATION; FOR CHRISTMAS HAS ARRIVED AND IT IS A HAPPY SEASON.
AT THIS TIME ALSO "ANGEL BREAD" IS SERVED AND IT IS GIVEN TO ALL.
"ANGEL BREAD" IS A SMALL WAFER-LIKE BREAD (SIMILAR TO COMMUNION
WAFERS). IT IS BROKEN INTO SQUARE PIECES AND EVERYONE IS GIVEN A
PORTION. THIS WAFER IS THEN USED AS A PEACE OFFERING. THAT IS,
EACH PERSON WISHES THEIR NEIGHBOR (RELATIVE ETC.) THREE WISHES FOR
THE NEW YEAR--HAPPINESS, HEALTH AND WEALTH. UPON BREAKING OFF A
PIECE TO EACH PERSON IT IS THEN CONSUMED. ANGEL BREAD IS ONLY
USED AT THIS TIME (SEASON) DURING THE YEAR.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

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

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82

View just this record

POLISH CHRISTMAS EVE CUSTOMS

ON CHRISTMAS EVE THE POLISH HAVE A HUGE MAIN SUPPER. THIS SUPPER
USUALLY CONSISTS OF ELEVEN DIFFERENT FOODS NONE OF WHICH MAY BE
MEAT. ALOT OF VEGETABLES ARE EATEN AT THIS MEAL INCLUDING
CABBAGE, MUSHROOMS, BEET SOUP AND DUMPLINGS. ALSO AT THIS MEAL A
SQUARE WAFER, WHICH HAS BEEN BLESSED IS PASSED AROUND THE TABLE.
EACH PERSON WISHING THE PERSON TO HIS SIDE, WELL, WHILE TAKING
A PIECE OF IT.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HARPER WOODS

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

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

Date learned: 10-22-1971

View just this record

CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

AMONG THE POLISH, A WIGILIA (VIGIL) FEAST IS ALWAYS KEPT ON
CHRISTMAS EVE. THE WHOLE FAMILY FASTS FOR THE ENTIRE DAY, AND
A LARGE RITUAL DINNER CLIMAXES THE PREPARATION FOR CHRISTMAS.
SEVEN ITEMS MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE MEAL:
1) LONG WAFER-LIKE PIECES OF BREAD, WHICH RESEMBLE THE HOST
USED IN MASS (THIS IS CALLED OPLOTKI). THE OLDEST PERSON IN
THE FAMILY TAKES A PIECE OF THIS, AND THEN PASSES IT AROUND THE
TABLE. THESE ARE USUALLY DECORATED IN BRIGHT COLORS, AND SCENES
OF THE NATIVITY ARE DEPICTED. THEN
(2) GARLIC IS SERVED IN SMALL SECTIONS, FOLLOWED BY
(3) BARSZCZ OR POTATO SOUP WITH VINEGAR.
(4) FISH IS THE MAIN COURSE, SINCE MEAT MAY NOT BE EATEN ON
CHRISTMAS EVE.
(5) PIEROGI, OR FRIED DUMPLING WITH STUFFING, ARE SERVED NEXT,
FOLLOWED BY
(6) MASHED POTATOES AND
(7) SWEET BREAD.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

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

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82

Date learned: 10-15-1971

View just this record

POLISH CHRISTMAS CUSTOMS

CHRISTMAS IS A BELOVED HOLIDAY FOR THE 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
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 POLAK MAKES HIMSELF AND THEY EAT,
DRINK AND MAKE MERRY.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share the same surname.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; informant's home ; 25940 MADISON CT, S. ; St. Clair Shores

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT ; FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: 122 122.7
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 Straw
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 11-01-1971

View just this record

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS CUSTOMS, POLISH

THE TRADITIONAL POLISH CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS BEGINS BY OBSERVING
THE ADVENT SEASON, AWAITING THE FESTIVE CHRISTMAS. THIS IS
CULMINATED AT THE VIGILIA MEAL, SERVED ON CHRISTMAS EVE. THIS IS
THE TRANSITION BETWEEN ADVENT AND THE DAY ON WHICH POLES COMMEMERATE
CHRIST'S BIRTH. THE WORD VIGILIA MEANS WATCHING AND THIS IS IN
EFFECT WHAT THE PARTICIPANTS DO. THE MENU INCLUDES HERRING, WHICH IS
THE MAIN COURSE. THIS IS EATEN WITH MILK SYMBOLIZING A BITTER-SWEET
TIME OF REPENTANCE AND AWAITED JOY. UPON THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEAL
THE CHRISTMAS WAFER (OPLATEK) IS BROKEN FIRST BY THE HEAD OF THE
HOUSEHOLD AND DISTRIBUTED TO MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY, THE OLDEST
RECEIVING HIS PORTION FIRST. EACH FAMILY MEMBER IN TURN BREAKS THE
WAFER WITH ANOTHER WISHING PEACE AND GOOD WILL TO ONE ANOTHER. THE
WAFER SYMBOLIZES THE BLESSINGS OF CHRIST THAT ARE HOPED TO BE
BESTOWED DURING THE COMING YEAR. FOLLOWING THE MEAL A SZOPKA MAY BE
PRESENTED. THIS IS A PUPPET SHOW RE-ENACTING "THE NATIVITY" AND IS
SHOWN IN A SPECIALLY BUILT, RICHLY ORNATE, WOODEN STAGE. IN THIS
WAY THE CHILDREN OF THE POLISH FAMILY COME TO UNDERSTAND THE TRUE
MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.
NO MORE ACTIVITY TAKES PLACE IN THE HOME. ITS MEMBERS ASSUME A
SOMBER CONDITION OF MIND AND DEPART FOR THE MIDNIGHT MASS. THIS MASS
IS THE TRADITIONAL PASTERKA IN WHICH THE SOLEMN TONE OF THE SEASON IS
HIGHLIGHTED BY THE SINGING OF KOLENDY OR POLISH NATIONAL CHRISTMAS
CAROLS. FOLLOWING MASS THE FAMILY RETURNS HOME AND EXCHANGE GIFTS.
NEW YEAR'S EVE IS NOT CELEBRATED AS A FESTIVE EVENT, BUT THE FEAST OF
THE THREE KINGS SYMBOLIZES THE END OF THE POLISH CHRISTMAS SEASON.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY LOUNGE

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
645 645.2
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Manger scenes
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Gifts, gift giving at Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Songs, caroling
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 11-26-1970

View just this record

POLISH CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

UNLEAVENED BREAD, WITH A CHRISTMAS SCENE ON IT, IS PASSED TO EACH
PERSON AT THE DINNER TABLE ON CHRISTMAS EVE. EACH PERSON BREAKS
OFF A PIECE OF THE BREAD OF THE ONE NEXT TO HIM, PUTS IT IN HIS
MOUTH, AND THE TWO PEOPLE KISS AND WISH EACH OTHER "MERRY CHRISTMAS".

Submitter comment:

PRACTICED IN MICHIGAN BY INFORMANT'S FAMILY AT LEAST
FROM 1940 TO 1963.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82

Date learned: 12-00-1963

View just this record

Oplatek

A WAFER-THIN POLISH BREAD WHICH IS EXCHANGED AMONG
FAMILY AND FRIENDS AT CHRISTMAS TIME. THIS BREAD IS BROKEN AT
THE CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER AND IF FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE PRESENT,
THE PIECE OF OPLATEK IS BROKEN INTO TWO PARTS AND EACH PERSON
THEN EXCHANGES PIECES WITH ANOTHER. AFTER EACH HAS EATEN OF
THE OTHER'S BREAD THE KISS OF PEACE IS EXCHANGED.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT REMEMBERS THE CUSTOM FROM HER CHILDHOOD IN MANITOBA,
CANADA IN THE EARLY 1900'S WHEN HER RELATIVES IN POLAND WOULD SEND
THE BREAD TO CANADA AND HER FAMILY WOULD IN TURN MAIL OPLATEK
TO POLAND. SAYS THE CUSTOM STILL IS OBSERVED IN POLISH CHURCHES
AT CHRISTMAS TIME (E G., OUR LADY, QUEEN OF APOSTLES IN EAST
DETROIT, 1963)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82

Date learned: 01-08-1964

View just this record

POLISH GOOD LUCK SYMBOL OF OPLATET [OPLATEK]

BREAKING OF UNLEAVENED BREAD BETWEEN
PEOPLE AT CHRISTMAS EVE MEAL TO
SIGNIFY GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): BREAD ; FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82

Date learned: 11-10-1968

View just this record

OPTATKE (CHRISTMAS WAFER) [OPLATKI]

A POLISH CHRISTMAS TRADITION. ON THE VIGIL OF CHRISTMAS AT DINNER
THAT EVENING, THE HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD DISTRIBUTES BREAD-LIKE WAFERS
(OPTATKE) [OPLATKI], MADE BY SISTERS OF THE CHURCH. THEY ARE MADE LIKE THE
COMMUNION WAFER, AND BLESSED BY THE PRIEST. EACH MEMBER OF THE
FAMILY RECEIVES ONE, AND THE HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD SAYS A PRAYER
AND ASKS FOR GOD'S BLESSING. HE BREAKS HIS WAFER WITH EACH MEMBER,
AND THEY IN TURN BREAK IT WITH EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share same surname.

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

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

Date learned: 09-30-1968

View just this record

CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

POLISH CHRISTMAS CUSTOM - OPWATKI [OPLATKI].
THE FATHER WOULD BREAK BREAD WITH
THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY AT THE
CHRISTMAS EVE MEAL. THE FATHER WOULD
BREAK IT WITH ONE PERSON AND THAT
PERSON WOULD BREAK IT WITH ANOTHER
AND SO ON.

Submitter comment:

HEARD ABOUT IT FROM HER KINDERGARTEN TEACHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.82

Date learned: 10-15-1967

View just this record

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