Yes, you read well. 12 dishes!!!! OMG!!!! (be prepared to see me BIGGER after this Christmas holiday;)
A Christmas Eve table with 12 dishes is one of the Polish traditions (some of our students already know that since they were told about this fact when playing the Christmas trivia) because number 12 is believed to be the symbol of richness, it is also the number of the Apostles and the months of the year. According to the tradition, you should taste at least a little of each in order to be lucky all year round. And it’s doable!!!! Believe me!!!
Among the dishes you can find dumplings with differnt no-meat filling, fish (mostly carp and herring), mushroom soup, mushroom sauce with pearl barley, borsch (a kind of soup based on beetroot juice), braised sauerkraut with white beans, cabbage rolls, kutia and more variations depending on the region and family’s taste.
What is more, some hay is spread under the tablecloth (it’s not the result of poor cleaning though!) as a reminder of the fact that Jesus was born in a manger , and also an empty plate at the table is left just in case a person down on luck knocks at the door and asks for shelter – if this happens (nowadays really rarely), the lone stranger is invited to sit at the table and have the Christmas dinner as a member of the family.
Christmas Eve dinner starts when the first star appears in the sky. Mostly children are the responsible ones to spot it in the sky. Next, the members of the family break the Christmas wafers (“opłatek”) together and exchang wishes for good health and prosperity.
And finally, after the dinner we have our Boxing Day!!!
This is my merry little Christmas… like in the song… And eventhough I’ve been living in Spain for a while I try to stick to my tradition and mix/smuggle some of the Polish with the Spanish tradition.
And you? Do you celebrate your Christmas in a strict Spanish /Galician manner or do you introduce some innovations?
Share and have yourself a merry little Christmas as the great Frank Sinatra sings!!!