A very Polish Christmas



Published 25/12/2012 | 14:54

The Racki family preparing for a traditional Polish Christmas at their home in Coolaney, Mateusz, Konrad, Michael, Weronika, Roksana, Renata and Janusz.

WHILE most people will sit down to turkey and ham on Christmas Day, the Polish community in Sligo will instead enjoy their own traditional feast.

And for one Coolaneybased family it will be a case of a double celebration.

Janusz Racki and his wife, Renata, are 19 years married on Christmas Day.

The festive season is therefore extra special for the couple and their five children, Roksana (18), Konrad (17), Mateusz (13), Weronika (12) and Michael (4).

As they mark their wedding anniversary, the Racki family will also observe a Polish Christmas.

It centres around Christmas Eve and a meal consisting of a variety of dishes, including fish.

In Poland, December 24th is usually a day first of fasting, then of feasting.

The ' Wigilia' begins at the appearance of the first star in the sky as darkness falls.

On the evening children watch the sky, if it is clear enough, hoping to be the first to shout 'the star has come.'

Renata explained: "In Poland families gather together on Christmas Eve and have a meal consisting of up to twelve different dishes.

"We won't have that many. We will have fish (Carp) and pierogi (dumplings with cabbage and mushrooms)."

There will be beetroot soup ' barszcz' to start and plenty of cakes and deserts to finish.

The Racki family moved from Wablbrzy near the German border to Sligo seven years ago.

Janusz is an engineer with Prominent in the Finisklin Industrial Estate.

Roksana is a first year media, English and sociology student at Maynooth.

She is a former pupil of the Ursuline College.

Roksana said: "The Christmas Eve meal is very important in Poland.

"It can last a long time as we try to eat small portions."

Gifts are exchanged after the meal.

Christmas Day can be spent attending Mass and visiting Polish friends.

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