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John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.

Polish Christmas

  Christmas traditions in Poland  are full of magic and meaning. The customs which have been passed down through the centuries are deeply rooted in religion, family, nature and love of the land.  Christmas Eve is the most anticipated  and beautiful day of the year for a Polish family.  As the winter darkness is suddenly brightened by the appearance of the Christmas star in the night sky, by the flickering lights on Christmas trees, and the melodies of Christmas carols floating from homes and churches.

  People prepare for this big holiday during the four weeks of Advent. In Poland, this is a time of fasting, prayers, of spiritual preparation for Christmas. One of the most beautiful ceremonies of Advent is a mass called roraty,  a early morning service that begins in the dark with people lighting their torches and candles at special times during the mass. The service symbolizes vigilance  and waiting for the coming of Christ. In the evenings, people stay indoors and the family spends time making handmade decorations for the Christmas tree,  choinka, from straw, paper, and foodstuffs like nuts and grains.


This information comes from the Polish Women's Alliance of America of which I am an officer.    1-888-522-1898

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