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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

SHARING ANGEL BREAD (OPLATEK) AMONG MEMBERS
OF A FAMILY IS A MEANS OF SAYING "WE HOPE THAT WE ARE ALL
TOGETHER HERE NEXT YEAR".

Submitter comment:

IT IS A CUSTOM THAT MY FAMILY PARTICIPATES IN EVERY CHRISTMAS.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector are the same person.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN HEIGHTS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

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FOOD

AT CHRISTMAS, HIS MOTHER GETS A BREAD OF WAFER
FORM AND MAKEUP -- IT IS SOLD AT THE CHURCH
AND THIS IS SHARED BY THE FAMILY -- PASSING IT AMONG
AND WISHING EACH OTHER LUCK FOR THE COMING YEAR.

Submitter comment:

THIS IS DONE AT INFORMANT'S HOME EVERY YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT T.V. STUDIO

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 09-24-1970

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CHRISTMAS PARTY

LAST CHRISTMAS, WHEN I WAS AT A FRIEND'S HOUSE FOR A CHRISTMAS
PARTY, THEY HAD A CELEBRATION IN WHICH EVERYBODY IN THE HOUSE WAS
GIVEN A PIECE OF BREAD, LIKE MOTZA. EACH PERSON WOULD BREAK OFF A
PIECE OF BREAD AND PUT IT IN ANOTHER'S MOUTH AND, IF IT WAS A GIRL,
WOULD PROCEED TO KISS THE GIRL OR IF IT WERE A MAN HE WOULD SHAKE
HANDS.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector are the same person.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

Date learned: 11-18-1968

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BREAKING OF BREAD

DURING CHRISTMAS, BEFORE DINNER, THE FAMILIES GATHER TOGETHER AND
EACH MEMBER HAS A PIECE OF "ANGEL BREAD" (UNLEAVENED BREAD).
THEN EACH MEMBER BREAKS A PIECE OFF EACH OF THE OTHER MEMBER'S PIECE
OF "ANGEL BREAD" WHILE WISHING THEM THE BEST OF EVERYTHING FOR THAT
SEASON, FOLLOWED BY A KISS OR A HAND SHAKE. AFTER EVERYONE HAS
EXCHANGED, THE PIECES ARE EATEN.

Submitter comment:

IF A MEMBER IS OUT OF TOWN, THE OUT OF TOWNER SENDS A PIECE
OF "ANGEL BREAD" IN A GREETING CARD TO THE FAMILY FOR EXCHANGE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Greetings, wishes, prayers, cards
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR.

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EXTRA INCOME

IN POLAND AT CHRISTMAS THE CHOIRMASTER BROUGHT THE RECTANGULAR
HOSTS TO EACH FAMILY. HE WAS ALLOWED TO DO THIS AS A WAY OF
SUPPLEMENTING HIS INCOME, WHICH WASN'T MUCH. EACH FAMILY WOULD GIVE
HIM A GIFT WHEN HE BROUGHT THE WAFER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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A CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

AT CHRISTMAS TIME, THE FAMILY OBTAINS AN UNCONSECRATED HOST. THE
OLDEST MEMBER TAKES A BITE OF THE HOST AND WISHES A HAPPY NEW
YEAR. HE OR SHE KISSES THE NEXT OLDEST, AND THIS IS PASSED DOWN
THE LINE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; HOLDEN HALL ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; RELIGION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

Date learned: 10-00-1967

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OPLATEK-UNLEAVENED BREAD

EACH PERSON TAKES A PIECE, THEN GOES
AROUND TO THE OTHERS BREAKING OFF A PIECE
OF THEIRS AND WISHES THEM GOOD LUCK,
HEALTH, AND HAPPINESS.

Where learned: LOCATION NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

Date learned: 10-00-1968

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A POLISH CHRISTMAS

AT CHRISTMAS TIME EACH PERSON HAS AN UNCONSECRATED HOST WHICH IS
BROKEN IN HALF BY ANOTHER. AS THE PERSON BREAKS THE HOST,
THE ORIGINAL HOLDER OF THE HOST MAKES A WISH FOR THE ONE WHO
IS DOING THE BREAKING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; HOLDEN HALL ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; RELIGION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

Date learned: 10-00-1967

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

AT CHRISTMAS TIME, THE CHURCH ORGANIST OF ST. PETER & PAUL
SELLS A SMALL WAFER CALLED OPLATIKA. THEY ARE SQUARE
AND TASTE LIKE A COMMUNION TYPE HOST. AFTER MIDNIGHT MASS,
THE FAMILIES HAVE A DINNER AT WHICH EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY
BREAKS OFF A PIECE AND EATS IT.

Submitter comment:

[St. Peter & Paul is a] Roman Catholic [church.]

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; informant's home

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 11-02-1969

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CHRISTMAS DAY

IN POLISH FAMILIES BEFORE EVERYBODY STARTS EATING, THE HEAD OF
THE FAMILY PASSES BREAD AROUND TO EVERYBODY WHICH HAS BEEN BLESSED
BY THE PRIEST OF THEIR CHURCH.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; RENO HALL

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 11-14-1968

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SHARING BREAD

ONE OF THE CUSTOMS OF THE POLISH PEOPLE AT CHRISTMAS TIME
WAS TO SHARE BREAD (MADE OF FLOUR AND WATER) WITH HONEY. THE
FATHER WOULD START BY GIVING HIS WIFE A PIECE OF HIS BREAD AND
AT THE SAME TIME WISHING HER A MERRY CHRISTMAS. THEN EACH CHILD
WOULD FOLLOW ACCORDING TO AGE. THEN THE WIFE WOULD GO
THROUGH THE SAME PROCEDURE.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share the same surname.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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AT CHRISTMASTIME OR AT OTHER BIG
GATHERINGS, SOME UNLEAVEN BREAD IN
SHEETS IS ON THE TABLE. WHEN A
PERSON WALKS UP TO YOU WITH A
SHEET AND WISHES YOU VARIOUS
BENEFICIAL THINGS, YOU BREAK OFF
A PIECE OF BREAD FOR EACH WISH AND
EAT IT. THIS IS DONE IN POLISH COMMUNITIES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; HOLDEN HALL ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

Date learned: 11-00-1967

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POLISH CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

AT CHRISTMAS TIME MANY POLISH PEOPLE
GATHER TOGETHER AT A PARTY. EVERYONE HAS A
BLESSED WAFER MADE OF OPWATKI. TWO PEOPLE
BREAK A PIECE OFF EACH OTHER'S WAFER, EAT IT, AND
WISH EACH OTHER GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; OPLATKI

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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POLISH CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

BEFORE DINNER EVERYONE HAS A PIECE OF A
WAFER SIMILAR TO THE COMMUNION WAFER.
THIS WAFER MAY BE WHITE, PINK, OR BLUE AND
USUALLY HAS AN IMPRINT OF THE NAVITY
SCENE, THE THREE WISE MEN, OR THE SHEPHERDS
ON IT. EVERYBODY TAKES A PIECE OF EACH
OTHER'S WAFER AND WISHES THEM HEALTH,
HAPPINESS, AND A MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector are the same person.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR.

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CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

A TRADITIONAL POLISH CUSTOM USED AT CHRISTMAS TIME TO EXTEND BEST
WISHES OF THE SEASON AND A PERSONAL GREETING FOR THE NEW YEAR, IS
THE EXCHANGING OF SMALL PIECES OF WAFERS KNOWN AS "OPLATKI" WHICH
IN ENGLISH MEANS "ANGEL BREAD."

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT WAS TAUGHT THIS FROM HER PARENTS WHO WERE BORN IN POLAND.
SHE LEARNED IT WHEN SHE WAS VERY YOUNG AND STILL PRACTICES IT TODAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; TOLD AT INFORMANT'S HOME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

Date learned: 11-03-1971

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

AMONG THE LITHUANIANS, THERE IS A TRADITIONAL MEAL ON THE
EVE OF CHRISTMAS. ON THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT (FOUR WEEKS
BEFORE CHRISTMAS) THE LOCAL PRIEST WOULD VISIT EVERY HOUSE
FOR A YEARLY VISITATION. AT THAT TIME HE WOULD GIVE EVERY
FAMILY A PIECE OF UNLEAVENED BREAD, RESEMBLING THE HOST USED
AT MASS. THIS BREAD WOULD BE DECORATED WITH BRIGHT COLORS AND
WITH SCENES OF THE NATIVITY. THIS BREAD WAS TO BE SAVED FOR
THIS CHRISTMAS EVE MEAL. THE PEOPLE WOULD GIVE THE PRIEST
A DONATION FOR THIS PLOTKA. ALONG WITH THE PLOTKA, SOLE
AND FISH WERE ALSO SERVED. THE DESERT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT
PART. EXTRAVAGANT DESERTS WERE SERVED, WHICH WOULD NORMALLY
NOT BE SERVED AT ANY OTHER TIME (E.G. GOATS MILK WITH POPPY
SEEDS.)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

Date learned: 09-23-1971

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COMMUNION HOSTS

THE INFORMANT'S AUNT WHO IS OF POLISH DESCENT, SENDS
SMALL SQUARES OF BLESSED HOSTS IN HER CHRISTMAS CARDS.
INFORMANT TOLD ME WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD, SHE AND HER
BROTHERS WOULD PLAY "CHURCH" AND PRETEND TO CELEBRATE
A MASS AND THEN EAT THE HOST.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Greetings, wishes, prayers, cards

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR.

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CUSTOM CHRISTMAS

IT IS A POLISH CUSTOM TO SEND WAFERS WITH SCENES
IMPRINTED ON THEM TO THEIR FRIENDS INSTEAD
OF CHRISTMAS CARDS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Greetings, wishes, prayers, cards

Date learned: 00-00-1967

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OPLATEK

OPLATEK (ALSO CALLED 'ANGEL BREAD') IS A RECTANGULAR WAFER
MADE FROM THE SAME INGREDIENTS THAT HOSTS ARE. EACH FAMILY MEMBER
OR GUEST THAT IS SHARING THE CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER RECEIVES A WAFER.
AFTER BREAKING OFF A PIECE OF THEIR OWN OPLATEKS, THE INDIVIDUALS
SHARING THE MEAL PASS THEIR OPLATEKS TO THE PERSON SEATED NEXT TO
THEM. THIS CONTINUES UNTIL EACH PERSON HAS SHARED HIS WAFER OF
OPLATEK WITH EVERY OTHER PERSON PRESENT AT THE DINNER TABLE.

Submitter comment: SHARING OPLATEK IS A SIGN OF MUTUAL LOVE, FORGIVENESS, AND BEST
WISHES.

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POLISH

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Oplatki
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Oplatki
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

Date learned: CA00001890S ; 01-13-1980

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BREAKING THE OPLATEK

THE OPLATEK IS RICH IN POLISH CULTURE AND CUSTOM.
THE OPLATEK IS A VERY THIN WAFER OF BREAD THAT IS BROKEN AND
SHARED BY PEOPLE AT CHRISTMAS.
THE SHARING IS ACCOMPANIED BY THESE WORDS: "I WISH YOU
HEALTH, WEALTH, AND HAPPINESS, AND WHAT YOU WISH FROM GOD ALONE.

Submitter comment: THE BREAKING OF THIS BREAD IS SIGNIFICANT BECAUSE
IT IS BLESSED, AND THEREFORE IT IS SACRED , ESPECIALLY TO THE POLISH
CULTURE. IT IS A SYMBOL OF LOVE AND GOOD WISHES ESPECIALLY
IN THE FAMILY SETTING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Oplatki

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