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波蘭全世界最虔誠的天主教國家之一.... 高達 90% 的人口為天主教徒.... 聖誕節為波蘭重大慶典 對波蘭人來說是重大的節慶... 一齊來欣賞波蘭的聖誕節禮俗... POLAND offers the world as beautiful a festival in the spiritual values of the occasion as can be found in the whole realm of Religious tradition in its "Festival of the Star." December 24th is a Fast Day until the first star appears in the evening sky. This star is eagerly watched for by the children who strive with one another to be the first to announce it. The "Wilia," or Christmas Supper, then begins. Straw is placed under the table, the dishes and tablecloth; a chair is left vacant for the Holy Child. The head of the family takes a thin wafer bearing Christmas characters and blessed by the Priest and with a simple prayer for God's Grace and the welfare of the present, and absent, members of his family, breaks the wafer and distributes it, a piece to each, at the table. The traditional Supper of certain fish then commences, followed by the choicest and most varied of the regional foods the house can offer. After the Supper the streets are traversed by boys and girls singing carols, and carrying "Zopkas" with marionettes performing upon its miniature stage the traditional Nativity Play. Also thronging the streets will be other boys garbed as strange beasts, the devil, and other characters, led by a Star Boy; echoes of some long-forgotten Miracle Play. The "Festival of the Star" is brought to a close with the celebration at midnight of the "Shepherd's Mass." On the feast of the Epiphany, the priest and the organist visit the homes, bless them and write over their doors the initials of the three wise men - KMB (Kasper, Melchior and Balthazar) - in the belief that this will spare the homes from misfortune. The two polish carols: Gdy Sie, Chrystus Rodzi (When Christ is born) and Medrcy Swiata (Three Wise Men) are a beautiful tribute to Christmas and the Epiphany.