2016 Advent Calendar: Day 18

Luke 2:19-20, 33-35

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

… “The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about [Jesus]. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’”

Day 18: Christmas Around The World – Poland

  • In Poland, Advent is the beginning of Christmas Time. It’s a time when people try to be peaceful and remember the real reason for Christmas. People try not to have excess of anything. Some people give up their favourite foods or drinks and parties are not widely held. Some people also go to Church quite frequently. There is the tradition of the ‘roraty’, special masses held at dawn and dedicated to Mary for receiving the good news from the angel Gabriel.
  • During Advent, people also prepare their houses for Christmas. There’s lots of cleaning and people wash their windows and clean their carpets very thoroughly.
  • Before Christmas, children in schools and preschools take part in “Jasełka” (Nativity Plays). They are very popular and often the Christmas story is put into modern times.
  • Poland is a largely catholic country and Christmas Eve is a very important and busy day. It’s now often the most important day over Christmas – even though it’s not a holiday but Christmas and the 26th December are holidays. Traditionally it was day of fasting and abstinence (not eating anything) and meat is not normally allowed to be eaten in any form.
  • On the table there are 12 dishes – they are meant to give you good luck for the next 12 months. The meal is traditionally meat-free, this is to remember the animals who took take of the baby Jesus in the manger. Everyone has to eat or at least try some of each dish. For Catholics, the 12 dishes symbolise Jesus’ 12 disciples. Like in many Catholic countries, Christmas Eve is often a ‘fasting day’ meaning that some people don’t eat anything until after sunset (when the Church day officially ends).

Dividing the Grid

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