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Traditions of Polish Christmas - Timetable

Polish and American Christmas do not overlap in their timing. We do not celebrate Thanksgiving in Poland, so there is not any special day, such as the day after Thanksgiving, that marks the beginning of the Christmas season as in America. Poles do not really start celebrating Christmas until Christmas Eve, but then the Christmas season in Poland finishes much later than in America. The Christmas season in Poland starts with the end of Advent (Christmas Eve) and finishes with Candlemas on February 2.

Read more: Traditions of Polish Christmas - Timetable

   

Who and When brings Gifts to Polish Children during Christmas Season

Every region has its own tradition. In some regions of Poland the gifts are given to the children only on December 6th - since St. Nicolaus called also Santa Claus is a patron of this day. Read more about St. Nicolaus tradition. But in the majority of houses children (and adults) can expect gifts twice- on December 6th and also on Christmas Eve. As you probably know St. Claus Day originates from orthodox religious tradition but it came to Poland probably from Holland. The atmosphere of this feast is different than the atmosphere of Christmas eve since December 6th is a normal working day. Whereas Christmas is usually celebrated as a family feast, St. Claus Day (December 6th) is rather social - with children and adults participating in Christmas parties at schools and offices.

Read more: Who and When brings Gifts to Polish Children during Christmas Season

   

Poland’s Influence on Thomas Jefferson

The political genius of Thomas Jefferson was undoubtedly inborn, but throughout his life he was influenced by the thinking of many individuals and the experiences of various countries and societies. Jefferson used this knowledge when he wrote the American Declaration of Independence.

It is known that Jefferson was greatly influenced by the writings of the Englishman John Locke. But Locke’s writings were deeply imbued with the thoughts and ideas of the Polish Brethren, also known as the Socinians, a religious sect in Poland in the late 1600s that espoused freedom of religion and personal liberty. Locke’s political thoughts were more specifically influenced by the Poles Wawrzyniec Goślicki and Samuel Przypkowski.

Read more: Poland’s Influence on Thomas Jefferson

   

All Saints' Day in Poland

All Saints' Day in Polandn, November 1st,  is a holiday for everybody except of transportation and emergency services. In spite of its religious roots it was also observed during communistic times as a Day of Deceased. The traffic on the roads and streets is very high since almost everybody had to commute to reach the family's graves.

Read more: All Saints' Day in Poland

   

Our Lady of Czestochowa

Kraków's Czartoryski Museum houses Lady With an Ermine, one of the world's greatest non-religious masterpieces. In the city of Częstochowa, is a great religious treasure. The tale of the painting of Our Lady of Częstochowa, or Matka Boska Częstochowy. is intertwined with the glory and history of Poland. Legend holds that this portrait of the Virgin and the Baby Jesus was created by St. Luke the Apostle, and that Mary may have actually posed for him. It was found in Jerusalem by St. Helen, given to the Roman emperor in Constantinople, and credited with saving the city from an invasion of Saracens. Later given as a gift to Charlemagne, it was presented to Prince Leo of Ruthenia, once part of Poland but now in Ukraine.

The painting's history now becomes clearer. It came to be owned by Prince Władysław of Opole, Poland, who kept it in Belz, near Halicz. During an attack in 1382, a Tartar arrow hit the image of the Virgin in the throat, a mark which can still be seen today. He prince fled with the portrait to Częstochowa where he turned it over to the Pauline brothers at their monastery on Jasna Góra. The monks built a special chapel for the painting, which from then on came to be called Our Lady of Częstochowa.

Compare the same Madonna picture without and with the robe below:

In 1430, Hussite vandals stole the portrait, but their wagon with the picture loaded onto it would not move. One of the frustrated bandits struck the face of the Madonna twice across the cheek with his sword. Before he could come down with a third blow, legend says he was struck dead on the spot, and the other looters fled. Despite attempts at repair, the slashes on the Virgin's cheek remain to this day.

Read more: Our Lady of Czestochowa

   

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