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Christmas Eve in Poland

Quick Facts

Christmas Eve is celebrated as a festive occasion in Poland on December 24.

Local names

NameLanguage
Wigilia Bożego NarodzeniaPolish
Christmas EveEnglish
HeiligabendGerman

Christmas Eve 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015
List of dates for other years

Many people in Poland celebrate Christmas Eve (Wigilia) on December 24. It precedes Christmas Day, December 25, which is a national public holiday to commemorate Jesus Christ’s birth.

A traditional Polish Christmas Eve meal with white wafer on top of hay.

©iStockphoto.com/TeresaKasprzycka

What do people do?

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day (or St Stephen’s Day) are important days that are celebrated in many Polish homes. Christmas preparations begin days before December 25. Houses and apartments are cleaned and adorned with decorations, including a Christmas tree. Traditionally, Christmas trees are decorated with candles or lights, ornaments made of glass or eggshells, and wrapped treats on December 24.

Special dinners consisting of traditional Polish dishes are prepared and eaten on Christmas Eve. Dishes include beetroot soup (barszcz), dumplings stuffed with mushrooms (uszka), a cabbage dish, as well as cakes, fruit, and pastries. It is not unusual for some hosts to prepare for an extra seat for an unexpected guest. It is also customary to break and give the Christmas wafer (oplatek), which is made of flour and water, to guests. Many people attend a special church mass at midnight between December 24 and 25.

Public life

Christmas Eve is not an official public holiday but it is a busy time of the year for many commercial shops and businesses. It is also a busy on the road and for many transport services as many people travel home to be with their families for Christmas.

Background

Many Christians in Poland and around the world start celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Eve. It is also known as the Vigil of Christmas and is perceived as the culmination of the Advent season. Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas Day and is associated with celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth, although his actual birth date has been disputed among many scholars.

Symbols

There are a number of traditional superstitious beliefs about the Christmas period. For example, it is believed that sheaves of wheat and rye, hay or straw under tables will bring good crops or fortune. This practice is also a reminder of the modest environment in which Jesus was born in. It is also said that animals could talk at a certain moment during Christmas Eve.

About Christmas Eve in other countries

Read more about Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday type
MonDec 241990Christmas EveObservance
TueDec 241991Christmas EveObservance
ThuDec 241992Christmas EveObservance
FriDec 241993Christmas EveObservance
SatDec 241994Christmas EveObservance
SunDec 241995Christmas EveObservance
TueDec 241996Christmas EveObservance
WedDec 241997Christmas EveObservance
ThuDec 241998Christmas EveObservance
FriDec 241999Christmas EveObservance
SunDec 242000Christmas EveObservance
MonDec 242001Christmas EveObservance
TueDec 242002Christmas EveObservance
WedDec 242003Christmas EveObservance
FriDec 242004Christmas EveObservance
SatDec 242005Christmas EveObservance
SunDec 242006Christmas EveObservance
MonDec 242007Christmas EveObservance
WedDec 242008Christmas EveObservance
ThuDec 242009Christmas EveObservance
FriDec 242010Christmas EveObservance
SatDec 242011Christmas EveObservance
MonDec 242012Christmas EveObservance
TueDec 242013Christmas EveObservance
WedDec 242014Christmas EveObservance
ThuDec 242015Christmas EveObservance
SatDec 242016Christmas EveObservance
SunDec 242017Christmas EveObservance
MonDec 242018Christmas EveObservance
TueDec 242019Christmas EveObservance
ThuDec 242020Christmas EveObservance

Related holidays

Other holidays in December 2014 in Poland

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