Christmas is the most family holiday in Poland. It begins on 24th December and lasts three days, but preperations start much sooner. People buy presents, send Christmas cards to their relatives and friends, clean homes, cook Christmas dishes and finally – decorate Christmas trees. They put on glass bulbs, fairy lights, angels, nuts, sweets, hand made ornaments. The more colorful and sparkling the better.
24th December is called Christmas Eve and it is the most important day of Christmas. When the first star appears in the sky, the whole family gathers at the Christmas table. The supper is preceded by breaking and sharing of ''opłatek'' (wafer), which is the symbol of unity. According to tradition, there should be 12 dishes on the table. The most popular are beetroot soup, carp, dumplings with sauerkraut and forest mushrooms, drink made of dried fruit, cheescake and poppy seed cake. Polish people don't eat meat on Christmas Eve. It is also important to leave an additional plate for an unexpected guest. In more religious families people sing Christmas carols and go to the Christmas Vigil Mass. Last but not least, when the supper is finished, Christmas presents can be unwrapped.