Wesołych Świąt! That’s Polish for “Merry Christmas!” from the Gowans family.
In Polish culture, Christmas Eve is the highlight of Christmas, and is celebrated with prescribed traditions and dishes of Wigilia, the Christmas Eve vigil supper in Poland. “Wigilia” comes from the Latin verb vigilare, “to watch”, and literally means “eve”. Wigilia consists of a meatless meal, all-white table, and sharing of the opłatek, a Christmas wafer symbolizing bread and our Christian and familial communion.
Christ’s birth remains the much anticipated focal point in Wigilia. Strands of hay are placed underneath the tablecloth, where Christ in the manger is the literal centerpiece of the Wigilia dinner table. The Gowans’ Christ child centerpiece is a simple and humble clothespin, one that our son Hugh made as a toddler. Each Christmas Eve, it adorns our table, accompanied by our enduring love.
The opłatek is broken and passed to everyone at the table. Everyone breaks off a piece of their opłatek to share with everyone else. The man of the house leads the prayer, which includes wishing luck and joy in the coming year, for Christ has been born.
This Christmas Eve, we raise our opłatek to each of you, including you in our prayers for good health, good family, good homeschooling, and a very joyous and blessed Christmas!
The Gowans Family
The Gowans family was featured in the April 2013 Issue of Seton Magazine, ‘Going where God’s Will Takes You’.