There are fourteen days left to Christmas Eve so I would like to tell you about Polish Christmas traditions.
As in many countries, every year shop windows are decorated with chains, Christmas baubles and fairy lights. The shops present special Christmas collections, which encourage us to buy almost one piece of cloth or decoration. For me, in Poland Christmas decorations appear too early because it happens immediately after All Saints' Day. From that time, there are more than two months to the holidays.
Before December 24th, that is Christimas Eve, Polish families decorate the Christmas tree with colorful baubles, fairy lights and many more special elements. Some people decide also to ornament balconies, windows and gardens of their houses. During Christmas Eve in Polish Christians' houses is organised a special solemn supper. That time we meet members of our family to pray together and rejoice at Christ's birth. A very important tradition of that time is sharing a special wafer when exchanging Christmas greetings. There are several Christmas carol which can be sing during Christmas.
There is a tradition to prepare twelve dishes, which are presented on the table during Christmas Eve. The meals symbolize twelve apostles. There are many types of dishes we can make and the choice often depends on the region of Poland we derive from. The special ones are borscht with ravioli and mushroom soup. There are also dumplings filled with sauerkraut and mushrooms, a cabbage stew and of course fish like a carp and in my house a cod and a Greek-style fish. Some ladies also prepare a dish consisting of boiled grain. A compote made from dried fruits is also very popular. My mother does it every Christmas but I must say that in the past I did not to used to drink it. It has a really characteristic taste. My mother dries fruits on her own to make the taste and a flavour unique. We cannot omit to bake cakes but there are no manily related to the Christmas tradition.
I will promise you to add photos of my Christmas dishes :)