Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oplatek

This is a new holiday poem about a Polish tradition that my family practiced on Christmas Eve.

Oplatek

A wafer
not blessed
but made
by the nuns.
Embossed with
the nativity.
Distributed among
those gathered
on Christmas Eve.
Greetings are exchanged,
accented by the crack
as pieces of wafer
are traded.
To the child,
the tradition is
a competition.
The challenge-
collect as many
pieces as possible.
But the adults know
the true gift
of the ritual
is time spent
with loved ones,
even if it is only
a few seconds.

11 comments:

  1. I did not know about this tradtion. How beautiful it is, and how sweetly you describe it.

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  2. I really enjoy learning about others' Christmas traditions...especially those native to other countries/cultures! Sounds like fun. Visiting from TALU today.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by from TALU. I enjoy learning about other traditions, too. There are so many beautiful ones.

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  3. Hey, my babi, (Czech for grandma) used to make these! In Czech they are called Oplatki; I love them! I just remembered, one of our very close family friends married a Polish man and we spoke Czech and he spoke Polish at the supper table and everyone understood each other. Thank you Michelle for bringing this little memory to me. :)

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    1. You're welcome, Veronica. Thanks for sharing your memory. Maybe I shouldn't tell you I made koclaczki yesterday. The story goes that my aunts all searched for a recipe that was like the one my grandmother made and settled on one as being the closest.

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  4. LOL - the original religious jigsaw puzzle? I'm not religious myself, so I never really stopped to think that much about it or ask ... it's one of those things that you think of at the time but forget later when you're around someone who would know. In the Armenian church I grew up in, people would take communion, but in addition to that, there is always another wafer-type of thing handed to everyone (regardless of whether you take communion) on the way out. It's kind of like a little round of flat bread, and for whatever reason, a lot of people will place it on headstones at the cemetery. Others will eat it. I really do need to remember to ask about that!

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    1. Thanks for sharing that, Chris. Last year, we went to a Polish-English Christmas mass and the priest had pieces of the wafer distributed at the end of the service and we exchanged pieces of it with each other.

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  5. I like this, Michelle. Very much. Thanks for sharing with the TALU!

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    1. Thanks, Anne, and thanks for hosting TALU.

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  6. I hope your reading went well tonight. We need to see you do a reading as well as read your wonderful words. We should think about a WSS YouTube Channel. I think Margo would agree...Andrew too.

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    1. That's an interesting idea, Lara. I wonder how many people in the group would take advantage of it?

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