Written by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn Monday, 04 December 2006 17:00
In this 21st century land of plenty, we should remember that in the old days, poverty was more widespread. But even the poorest Polish families, in Poland and the U.S., managed to make the Christmas season a special time. If they could not afford to buy fancy decorations or the materials with which to make them, simple scraps of paper were fashioned into ribbons or ornaments. It may have meant weeks or months of scrimping and saving to afford special treats or gifts for the holiday, but somehow they did it.
This is an excerpt from Jadwiga's Crossing novel devoted to Polish immigration to America. The story was told to the children to keep their patriotic feelings alive during the time when Poland lost its independence.
Everyone knows that in the beginning the only stars in the sky ere the ones God created for Himself and His angels to see. They were very high in the sky, and no one living on the Earth could see them.
In America, Christmas music is often played in stores right after Halloween or the week before Thanksgiving. It is not heard in Poland until after the Christmas Vigil Mass. Bells are rung, shots are fired, and carols are sung after midnight.
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.
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