What Aleksandra misses most about Christmas in Poland is the big family gathering and the music-making after Christmas dinner. What Lukasz, working and studying in Dublin, misses most besides family is the glistening Christmas-card weather.
In his own words: “I always enjoyed looking through the window on Christmas morning and seeing everything covered in snow.
One charming Christmas dinner custom in Poland is that of setting an extra place at table, symbolically indicating that no one, including strangers, should go hungry at Christmas. Dinner traditionally consists of no fewer than 12 dishes – and Irish mammies thought they had it bad – mostly involving carp.
Borscht, a spicy red beetroot soup, is served for the first course, although some regions serve mushroom soup instead.
Then it really felt like Christmas.” Brazil Christmas in Brazil occurs during summertime, so Santa has a hot, sweaty task to ensure all the children wake up to his special delivery on Christmas morning.
Santa in Brazil is very much the same as our Santa in Ireland and has the same name.
Christmas presents are exchanged on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day, and Polish folks love music. It’s not unusual for the family to sing Christmas carols together after dinner on Christmas Eve.
Lunch on Christmas day is at 1.15pm and is followed by some quiet time in the afternoon.
The Benedictine monks in Glenstal Abbey begin their Christmas celebrations at 6pm on Christmas Eve with evening prayer, known as Solemn First Vespers and a procession to the crib, sung in Latin.
Much later in the evening is the Vigil Office of Christmas sung in English.
Midnight Mass follows, with a mixture of Gregorian chant in Latin and traditional Christmas carols.
After Mass, usually after 1am on Christmas morning, the Benedictines, who are noted for their generous hospitality, provide their Midnight Mass congregation with tea and mince pies. On Christmas morning, the monks get a lie-in, due to the late night beforehand, and rise at the quite ungodly hour of 7.35.