Dziennik Chicagoski -- December 24, 1890"Postnik" or Polish Christmas Eve Supper.
Throughout Poland the day preceding Christmas was always observed as a Fast Day, even by the children.
That Fast Day was observed very respectfully not only as a church regulation but because it was also an old Polish custom, a kind of a national holiday, very solemn because it ended with a special Christmas Eve supper called "Postnik."
A Polish Christmas Eve supper was a great family religious feast at which no meat was served.
As soon as the sun sets and the stars begin to appear on the dome of heaven, the entire family, dressed in their best attire, gather at 2the best room called "Swietlica," and in respectful silece awaits the head of the house.
When everything is ready the mistress of the house, usually the mother of the family, invites him and the father of the family enters, representing so well at that particular moment patriarchial times.
He begins solemnly with prescribed prayers. Before the members of the family take their respective seats at the table laden with food, which was given by God and earned honestly by hard labor, the mistress of the house, the mother of the family, passes the wafers and the head of the house participates in that Old Polish custom, the breaking of the wafers.3
He begins with the one without whose fidelity no home could exist, his spouse, and then breaks the wafers with the children and other members of the family.
At that particular time the members of the family ask each other for forgiveness for any wrongs committed by them and promise one another as before an altar, mutual respect, patience and pure love, which proceeds from its very source, the heart of the Divine Infant lying in the cradle at the stable.
During these apologies, forgiving and well-wishing older members of the family kiss one another as if they were brothers and sisters, real children of God.4
The children kis the hands of their parents and he parents moved and thrilled by the great emotion embrace them, tenderly recalling the story fo Jesus lying in the cradle; "Theirs is the kingdom of God."
Now, before we sit at the table, let us look around "Swietlica," or the best room in the house, thoroughly cleaned today and specially decorated for this occasion The floor is covered with fresh, clean straw to remind the little ones playing around that the Infant Jesus was born in the stable. Even on the table and under the table cover there is fresh hay spreading its sweet aroma and giving to this special supper a peculiar impression. This is one of the details which makes the Polish Christmas supper a solemn emotional event.
Everything that is here resembles Bethlehem. Before the supper is over the children will start to sing Christmas carols nd in a short time the boys impersonating shepherds will enter and perform a Christmas play.5
The night is changed into day and it would last until dawn had it not been for the sound of the bell from the high church tower, which calls them to the church. There they sing Christmas songs filling the hearts of the faithful not only with historical recollections but also with sacramental reality, holy fire and heavenly light. They will begin the old Polish Christmas song, "In the cradle lies Little Jesus," recalling sweet emotions originated at the supper table and brought to the altar. When the words; "And the Word became Flesh and dwelled among us," are sounded, all the faithful fall on their knees and at the same moment the human sounds of Christian carols are joined with the angelic praises sung to the glory of the Incarnate Majesty.
This is how Poles of the olden times started the observation of the Christmas Holy Day.6
Between the Fast Dya and the Christmas Day there was a Christmas supper. ndeed the Polish "Postnik" has a very deep significance; its feast is a real "Agape" or a feast of early Christians.
Verily, sincerity, simplicity and benevolence not caused by personal interests, and a humbleness equal among grown ups and children, and poor and rich, expresses the thought in which this feast was originated, also recalling the modesty and devotion peculiar to the time of the martyrs.
Will not older persons looking at the children playing together on the straw and sharing their oys recall the time when they played at the feet of their parents?7
Verily, the deep significance of Christian feasts and Holy Days cannot be explained by heartless philosophizing.
Only after God became Man, man realized what he is, what he should be and what he might be.
He should be a Man, a God, a Son of the Highest, an idealized being. And heaven and earth are saying, Amen.
I B 4, III B 3 b
Secondary listingsPolish // Assimilation > Nationalistic Societies and Influences > Commemoration of Holidays > Religious (III B 3 b) ?
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