Wigilia


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Wigilia

December 24
Christians in Poland, like Christians around the world, regard the entire period from Christmas Eve (December 24) to Epiphany (January 6) as part of the Christmas season. Although their customs and the timing of their specific Christmas celebrations may differ from village to village, it all occurs during these two weeks. Wigilia means "to watch" or "keep vigil" in Polish. It takes place on Christmas Eve and commemorates the vigil that the shepherds kept on the night of Christ's birth. But it's very possible that the celebration goes back to pre-Christian times. Showing forgiveness and sharing food were part of the Poles' ancient Winter Solstice observance, a tradition that can still be seen in what is known as the Gody —the days of harmony and goodwill that start with the Wigilia and last until Epiphany, or Three Kings Day.
Because some people still cling to the ancient belief that wandering spirits roam the land during the darkest days of the year, it is not uncommon for Poles to make an extra effort to be hospitable at Christmas time, leaving out a pan of warm water and a bowl of nuts and fruits for any unexpected visitors.
SOURCES:
BkFest-1937, p. 256
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 142
EncyChristmas-2003, p. 621
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 749
References in periodicals archive ?
In fact these particular terms are not missing but, as seems logical to me, they are discussed under Wielkanoc (Easter) and Wigilia (Christmas Eve), respectively.
Christine Laing of Detroit says that her family has a Wigilia meal, an Eastern
Saturday's event in Blyth's Buffalo Community Centre featured a traditional Polish Christmas Eve supper, or Wigilia.
Christmas Eve, or Wigilia, is an important part of the Polish Christmas: in fact, the most important rituals are celebrated on this day," she explains.
Christmas Eve is known as Wigilia and is a time of forgiveness and a fresh start.
The most special day for Poles is Christmas Eve, or Wigilia, which comes from the word vigil and represents the time of waiting for the birth of baby Jesus.
ON Christmas Eve, families unite for the most carefully planned meal of the year - the Wigilia, meaning to keep vigil.
Between 1900 and 1920, first-generation Polish immigrants, most of them working-class, celebrated Christmas-- called Wigilia in the old country--not as they had in Poland, but as they wished they had.
It all helps to set the scene for Christmas Eve when the Surdyka family observes the Polish feast of Wigilia.
The family cooked the Wigilia meal - the special feast held by Polish families on Christmas Eve.