Beautiful nativity scenes are installed in many churches, while at the city squares there are living nativity scenes with animals, which refer to the tradition initiated by St. Francis of Assisi.
When the first star appears in the sky on December 24, it’s a sign that the Christmas Eve supper can start. It is the symbol of the Bethlehem Star. The Christmas Eve supper begins with reading a passage of the Holy Scriptures about the birth of Jesus. Then family members share Christmas wafer wishing all the best to each other.
During the Christmas Eve supper, the table is covered with a white cloth, under which some hay is put as a sign that Jesus was born in a stable. There should be one empty place for an unexpected guest. According to the tradition, there should be twelve Christmas Eve dishes, among which herring in cream and oil, cabbage with peas, carp (probably the most popular fish in Poland to be served during Christmas), dumplings, borscht. The meal traditionally doesn’t contain any meat dishes except fish.
After Christmas Eve supper whole families go to church to the Midnight Mass to celebrate the birth of the Son of God.
The 25th of December is the day of Christ’s birth. Polish families go to church, they sing carols, enjoy being together, and have a feast dinner.
The second day of Christmas commemorates St. Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity. On this days families and friends meet at the Christmas dinner. They also visit nativity scenes in churches and at the city squares.
Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference