Tag: Warsaw

Tag: Warsaw

Christmas in Warsaw

How Christmas should be

A good time to consider having your dental treatment in Warsaw is over the festive period. Christmas in Warsaw is very special and you will find an abundance of Christmas fairs or markets. You will also find that the dental clinics are less busy at this time of the year.

Christmas fairs & markets

Starting in December you’ll find impromptu markets setting up on the plac Defilad, in front of the Palace of Culture and Science and the plac Zamkowy, by the castle.

These fairs and markets are definitely worth a visit and will make you feel like a child on Christmas Eve again! The best time to come to Warsaw if you want to enjoy the Christmas markets is in the second or third weekend of December.

Old Town Christmas Market

The much beloved Christmas Market returns to Warsaw’s Old Town starting at the end of November. The Market Square is filled with wooden stalls selling handicrafts (Christmas ornaments, amber jewellery, ceramics, carved wood decorations, and more), traditional food, mulled wine, and hot beer. A simple, but essential Warsaw winter pleasure!

The Christmas street lighting in Warsaw around the Old Town and along the Royal Route is just beautiful!

Warsaw is an excellent location to visit during Christmas and just perfect for picking up that original and unique Christmas present at a good price too! The best time to come to Warsaw for Christmas shopping is the last two weeks in November. Unlike the UK, this is when the shopping malls first get decorated for Christmas and you will enjoy the Christmas ambiance without the mad crowds during this time.

Polish Christmas

Christmas in Poland is taken very seriously and is mainly focused on family and friends. During Advent, families get busy baking Christmas piernik (gingerbread) and start making (yes making!) their Christmas decorations. Gingerbread is made in a variety of shapes including hearts, animals and St. Nicholas figures (St. Nick is the Polish version of Santa).

Traditional decorations include the pajaki, which are handmade stars and decorated eggshells.

Lit Christmas trees are placed in most public areas, outside churches and in homes. Traditionally the trees are decorated with shiny apples, walnuts, wrapped chocolate shapes, hand blown glass baubles, and many homemade ornaments and candles. On the top of the tree is a star or a glittering top piece. In many homes, sparklers are hung on the branches of the trees for ambiance.

Gwiazdory

During Advent the “Gwiazdory,” or star carriers, wander through the towns and villages and this continues until Epiphany. Some of the Gwiazdory sing carols; others recite verses or put on “Szopki” (puppet shows), or “herody” (nativity scenes). The last two customs are developments from traditional manger scenes or “Jaselka” (crib).

Oplatek

One tradition unique to Poland is the sharing of the “oplatek”, a thin wafer into which is pressed a holy picture. People once carried these oplatki from house to house wishing their neighbors a Merry Christmas. Nowadays, the bread is mostly shared with members of the family and immediate neighbors.

As each person shares pieces of the wafer with another person, they are supposed to forgive any hurts that have occurred over the past year and to wish the other person all the happiness in the coming year.

Christmas Eve in Poland

In Poland, Christmas Eve is a day first of fasting, then of feasting. The feast begins with the appearance of the first star; there is no meat in the feast, and it is followed by the exchange of gifts. The following day is often spent visiting friends. In Polish tradition, people combine religion and family closeness at Christmas time.

Although gift giving plays a major role in the rituals, emphasis is placed more on making special foods and decorations. On Christmas Eve, so important is the first star of the night that it has been given the affectionate name of “little star” or Gwiazdka, in remembrance of the Star of Bethlehem. On that night, all watch the sky anxiously, hoping to be the first to cry out, “The star!” The moment the star appears, people start eating.

Wigilia

Families unite for the most carefully planned meal of the year, Wigilia, the Christmas supper. The Wigilia derives its name from the Latin word vigilare, which means “to watch” or keep vigil. According to tradition, bits of hay are spread beneath the tablecloth as a reminder that Christ was born in a manger. An even number of people must be seated around the table or, tradition states, someone may die in the coming year. Wigilia is a family feast. In some places an empty place setting is symbolically left at the table for the Baby Jesus or for a wanderer who may be in need, or if a deceased relative should come and would like to share in the meal.

The meal begins with the breaking of the oplatek. Everyone at the table breaks off a piece and eats it as a symbol of their unity with Christ. They then share a piece with each family member giving good wishes for the following year. There should be twelve dishes, as a symbol of the Twelve Apostles, or an odd number of dishes for good luck (usually five, seven, or nine). Poppy seed cake, beet soup, prune dumplings, carp, herring and noodles with poppy seed are universal Polish Christmas foods.

Traditionally, there is no meat eaten on Christmas Eve. Often there is compote of dry fruits. The remainder of the evening is given to stories and songs around the Christmas tree. In some areas of the country, children are taught that “The Little Star” brings the gifts. As presents are wrapped, carolers may walk from house to house, receiving treats along the way.

For detailed tourist information about Warsaw and the rest of Poland, please visit our travel partner, the Poland Travel Agency.

 


Poland tourist information

Poland Travel Agency

Dentists in Poland is part of the Poland Travel Agency who provide readers with unique, up-to-date and detailed Poland tourist information. We provide information ranging from castles & palaces, national parks, outdoor activities, underground attractions, World War II sites to religious destinations and much, much more in between.

The Poland Travel Agency booking engine is designed to provide you with the very best deals on accommodation and flights available on the Internet. You can compare airfares from over 1,000 airlines and search more than 800,000 hotels in 205 countries. We work with data from more than 10 online booking systems, such as Booking.com, Agoda.com, Hotels.com & Expedia.

We offer directly bookable, instantly available, and completely mobile tickets for museums, shows, and attractions in Poland via the largest online ticketing platform in the world – See tours.

In addition to this, you can find further Poland tourist information on the following Facebook pages, which we manage.

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About Poland

You can trace Poland’s history all the way back to the 10th century. Often turbulent, sometimes golden, frequently tragic, the last thousand years has seen a period of expansionism followed by its collapse and subsequent partitions, a couple of World Wars, a period of communism and recently, the restoration of democracy.

Poland’s history has provided tourists with an abundance of places to visit and things to do. There are oodles of castles to explore and many WWII sites to tour. Geographically, Poland has always been unfortunate and has found itself in the middle of many conflicts and tragically this was the case during WWII.

You will find tributes dedicated to various battles in the form of monuments and museums in many locations in Poland in addition to recognition of the country’s deep Jewish heritage in the shape of Holocaust memorials and restored synagogues.

For those people who prefer the great outdoors and fresh-air fun, Poland provides a plethora of destinations and activities. You will find beautiful mountains, 328 miles of golden coastline, over 10,000 lakes, huge forests, National Parks and it even has its own little desert.

Extremely rich in culture and history, Poland hosts 16 of the UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites, the majority of which are cultural.