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Shutting Up the Kids....The “REAL” Reason Behind Some Wigila Traditions
Is there a better way to get the kids out of the kitchen then to direct them to the nearest window and tell them to look for the 1st star?
Out of all of the beautiful traditions experienced during a Polish Christmas Eve, two of these time-honored rituals stand out as they MUST have been concocted by parents with ulterior motives.
The days leading up to Christmas can be torturous for children. The thoughts of a Christmas tree surrounded by mounds of presents and treats from Santa has children bouncing off the walls in anticipation. As Christmas Eve nears, adults are busily preparing for dinner, cleaning and decorating the house for guest. Let’s face it parents…the kids get in the way with all this pent up holiday energy. So how do the Poles deal with the household craziness?
1) “Stashu, keep looking out the window until you see the star!” Is there a better way to get the kids out of the kitchen then to direct them to the nearest window and tell them to look for the 1st star? This works well unless a) It’s a cloudy night or b) You live in Cheektowaga by the airport and passing jets look like shooting stars. Remember, the dinner cannot begin until the “First Star” or “Star of Bethlehem” is observed in the sky.
2) “Shhhh…I think the cat said something.” In a move of pure genius, Poles tell their children to be quiet and listen for household animals to speak. By far, the greatest tool in controlling kids and their “volume” on Christmas. The tradition is that animals are given an elevated status on Christmas Eve because animals were present in the stable during Christ’s birth.
So…with kids staring out the window and them trying to have a conversation with the family dog, hopefully parents can sneak in a quick cocktail before dinner, church and the opening of the presents. (Note, this is a light hearted commentary on Polish customs.)