Christmas's Pagan & Folk Traditions (II)Please read the first part of the article. Read also about Pagan Traditions of Spring and Summer in Poland; Midsummer
The Easter's weather and the next year weather in general presumably depended on the weather on Christmas. For instance lack of snow during Christmas meant white Easter according to the folks beliefs.
Before Christmas Eve farmers blessed (and still do) their fields with a holy water and placed crosses made of straw in four corners of their field. Sheaves of wheat - usually the sacred last cuts, saved from the year's harvest were brought to adorn the corners of the home to insure a bountiful harvest the coming year. (This custom seems to embrace Christian and folk traditions altogether).
Straw is put under white tablecloth used for Christmas supper almost everywhere in Poland. In the past some maids used to predict their future from the straw. After the supper the maids pulled out blades of straw from underneath the tablecloth. A green one foretold marriage; a withered one-waiting; a yellow one-spinsterhood; a very short one-an early grave.
I remember that my parents always kept a plate with onion cut into twelve pieces, just like twelve months of the coming year, on the supper table during Wigilia's (Christmas Eve). Onion was salted just before the supper. After the supper was finished the onion was carefully analyzed. Some pieces of onion, were usually more wet than the others. So the certain months were predicted to be rainier or drier than others. Of course we never took it too seriously, it was just an old custom to follow. Also small pieces of butter, bread and a coin were kept in the other plate - to ensure enough money and food for the coming year.
Read more about this tradition from Okana's website:
**An awesome creature, the Turon was costumed in sheep's wool, adorned with goat's horns, cow's ears, and a horse's tail. His companions drummed, banged pots and rang bells as he approached each home, laughing and dancing. The head of the household answered the door, and the Turon ran in, swirling and leaping, and generally destroying everything he came in contact with. A gift of a drink of miód (mead), krupnik (honey vodka), or some silver would soon find the Turon and his party on their way to the next home, clattering away and chasing the darkness as they went.***
Please, let me know if you know another Polish folk or pagan tradition that takes place during Christmas. I do not want to show any kind of depreciation of the religious character of Christmas as a mainly Christian and religious holiday. I just want to add more light into the origin of some still existing traditions.
written by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn, article #73
Old Polish Legends
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