Christmas Eve is a very special day for Poles when families unite for the most carefully planned meal of the year, known as Wigilia, the Christmas Eve supper.
It is a meatless meal traditionally consisting of herring, carp, beetroot or mushroom soup, noodles with poppy seed and other traditional dishes, depending on the region.
The feast is followed by the exchange of gifts and, in many homes, the singing of carols.
The many traditions associated with Christmas Eve include the breaking of the ‘opłatek’, an unconsecrated bread wafer, and setting an extra place at the table for an unexpected visitor.
According to the Centre for Public Opinion Research, for over half of Poles Christmas is above all a family gathering. Only for some 25 percent of adult Poles the religious dimension is the most important aspect of the holiday.
According to estimates by Deloitte, a typical Polish household spent PLN 882 (USD 250) on this year's festivities, two percent more than last year.