Day 17: Christmas in my home country, traditions and pics

Day 17

Linking up for Blogmas 2014…25 Days of Christmas. Because I LOVE Christmastime…not even a flurry, yet!! 😐

My grandma (we called her Gram or Grammy) was the one who celebrated with some Polish traditions.  We went to her house for Christmas Eve Dinner, along with all my mom’s siblings and families, so a good 20 people gathered together.  I’m sure it is different in Poland, but these are the Polish traditions we have observed.

My favorite part of the evening was right before dinner when we shared opłatki  (pronounced o – pwat – kee) or theDSCN4904 Christmas Wafer.  This is a thin rectangular wafer that is embossed with a nativity scene.  It is pretty much tasteless, since it is made from just flour and water.  Each person had a wafer on their plate, and we greeted everyone with a “good health, wealth and happiness for the new year” or some other well wish, as we broke a piece off of each others wafers and ate them.  I think I am the only person in my entire family who actually likes to eat oplatki.  Everyone else would take the smallest bits from each other.  They also tried to be sure that they weren’t left with a big piece of their own, so they would hold it loosely between their fingers so the other person would end up with a bigger piece.  My mom and sister still observe this tradition on Christmas Eve, and they know to save all the leftover oplatki and give it to me.  🙂

Our dinner consisted of Czarnina, Fish, Shrimp Cocktail, Pierogi, Sauerkraut & Noodles, some sort of vegetable and some dinner rolls.  Being Catholic as well, we did not eat meat for the dinner, we did have fish.

Czarnina – (pronounced Cha – NEE – na) or Duck’s Blood Soup.  Yes…you read that correctly.  I don’t think any of us kids ever ate it, (I could never get past the one ingredient, lol) usually my mom and her siblings were the ones who enjoyed it the most along with my grandma.  It’s a very dark soup, with a sweet and sour taste to it, there are raisens and prunes in it, and it’s served with Kluski noodles.  Years ago they would actually cook a duck, for the base or broth of the soup.  I’m assuming since they had a duck, they had the blood, and thought…hey, why not add it to the soup? (I’m totally speculating here…still can’t wrap my head around it).  Anniehow…my mom tells me that she now knows that it was mainly for the color, and not so much for the flavor.  Also, when my grandma made it, she usually used spare ribs, since duck was generally more expensive.  My mom has made this without the secret ingredient, and has duplicated the taste without any problem, I would consider trying it now.

The fish was some breaded filets, and as I remember it, the Shrimp Cocktail was only for the grown-ups, or else I just didn’t eat it. 🙂 #pickyeater

Pierogi – (pronounced pair – roh – gee) these are dumplings filled with potato, cheese or sauerkraut.  They are first boiled and then fried or baked.  We usually baked ours with lots of butter.

After dinner we would open our presents, and once that was done, all the trays of cookies, Roshky and nut roll would be put out on the table.  We would visit for a little while longer, before we headed home to rest a little before we went to Midnight Mass.

Wesołych Świąt
(weh-sohl-ih shveeaht)

Merry Christmas!!

2 thoughts on “Day 17: Christmas in my home country, traditions and pics

  1. Oh I can’t say enough how much I love this Annie! I have a lot of Polish heritage as well and I completely relate with pierogis. We weren’t as traditional with the duck blood soup. Lol My Polish family often loved smoked fish at Christmas time – which I did not share. I could be a picky eater too. Lol

    But I love your mention of the Christmas wafer. One of my Polish relatives sends me an oplatki every Christmas in the mail with her Christmas card and I share it with my kiddos.

    God bless those beautiful heritage traditions. Thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

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