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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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POLISH CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

THE DINNER CONSISTS OF THIRTEEN COURSES, ALL OF WHICH ARE MEATLESS.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

James Callow comment:

Christmas Day?

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; STUDENT UNION BUILDING

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT ; CHRISTMAS ; Course ; CUSTOM ; Dinner ; FOOD CUSTOM ; holiday ; Ingredients ; Meal ; Vegetarian

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

Date learned: 11-25-1969

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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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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 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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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

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CUSTOM-POLISH

THE CHRISTMAS EVE CEREMONY IS CALLED VIGELIA. IT BEGINS WHEN THE
FATHER OF THE HOUSE SEES THE FIRST STAR IN THE SKY. THEN THE FAMILY
SITS DOWN FOR DINNER. THE TABLE IS SET FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY--
BROTHERS, SISTERS, IN-LAWS, NIECES, NEPHEWS, ETC.,--WITH ONE
EXTRA PLACE IN CASE COMPANY SHOULD COME. UNDER THE TABLE CLOTH ARE
LITTLE PIECES OF STRAW TO SYMBOLIZE THE MANGER. THERE IS FASTING
ON THIS DAY--NO MEAT. THE DINNER CONSISTS OF 12 DIFFERENT
FOODS, SYMBOLIZING THE 12 APOSTLES--SUCH AS WINE, MUSHROOM SOUP,
HERRING, PEROGIA (A DOUGH AND CHEES DISH), BOILED PERCH, BOILED
POTATOES AND MASHED POTATOES, AND RELISHES. THERE IS ALSO A
LARGE HOST CALLED OPTATKE. THE FATHER AND THE MOTHER BREAK OFF A
PIECE OF THE HOST AND WISH EACH OTHER HEALTH AND HAPPINESS. THEY
THEN GO TO THE OLDEST SON AND HE TAKES A PIECE OFF THE HOST AND
A PIECE FROM BOTH THE MOTHER'S AND THE FATHER'S AND WISHES THEM
HEALTH AND HAPPINESS AND THIS IS PASSED THROUGH THE FAMILY LIKE THIS.
IT IS TO SYMBOLIZE UNITY. THEN TRADITIONAL POLISH CAROLES ARE
SUNG.

Submitter comment:

(STILL DONE IN AMERICA?) YES.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.86
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Songs, caroling

Date learned: 11-04-1968

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM-HOLY SUPPER

SOME UKRANIANS (UKRAINIANS) ON CHRISTMAS EVE (DEC. 24) EAT NO FOOD
UNTIL THE HOLY SUPPER. THE HOLY SUPPER CONSISTS OF A TWELVE COURSE
DINNER (TWELVE APOSTLES) WITH NO MEAT AND DAIRY PRODUCTS. CLOVES
OF GARLIC ARE ON EACH PLATE, THIS IS TO KEEP AWAY ILLNESS. THE
FIRST DISH IS A WHOLE GRAIN WITH HONEY AND POPPY SEEDS. ALL
TWELVE DISHES MUST BE TASTED AT LEAST.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT'S FRIEND SMENA RAKOVSKEY PRACTICED THIS CUSTOM.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Subject headings: 122 Christmas
686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two

Date learned: 10-25-1971

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"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

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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

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KITTENS' PAWS

THIS MEATLESS DISH IS TRADITIONALLY SERVED ON CHRISTMAS EVE
WHICH IN THE PAST WAS A DAY OF TOTAL ABSTINANCE (ABSTINENCE).
A FILLING OF CHEESE, CHOPPED SPINACH AND SPICES IS ROLLED IN SQUARES
OF PASTRY. THE ENDS OF THESE ROLLS ARE PINCHED CLOSE IN SUCH A
FASHION AS TO RESEMBLE KITTENS' PAWS. THEY ARE THEN COOKED
IN A TOMATO SAUCE AND SERVED.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: DETROIT, ASSUMED ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

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

Subject headings: 122 Christmas

Date learned: NOT RECORDED

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showing 11 items

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