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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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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

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