Christmas in Poland is one of the most revered holidays. The country is largely Christian and therefore Christmas is a very important holiday that people widely celebrate. The celebration of Christmas in Poland has been happening for centuries now and the Polish people are known for combining their pagan customs, traditions, and values with modern Christianity during their celebrations. 

The Christianization of the country has happened over the years and since some of these traditions have permeated into the culture of the Polish people, you will find that they celebrate the season impeccably. When you walk in the streets of Poland you will find Christmas trees that are decorated and this Christmas spirit usually begins as early as the last week of November and the first week of December.

The local people in the region call this period Boże Narodzenie and you will find them in their festive mood during your visit.

Christmas customs and traditions in Poland

Warsaw during the Christmas.

Poland is a country that is diverse, unique and rich in history, therefore, the Polish usually take this time very seriously. You are going to enjoy some of the unique Christmas traditions that are only found in Poland. Here are some of the Christmas traditions in Poland.

St Nicholas Day

This is one of the most important days in the Polish calendar. St Nicholas Day marks the beginning of the festive season in Poland.

According to legends in the country, St. Nicholas is known to love children and he ensures that children from different parts of the country celebrate the Christmas period. He will often bring sweets, candies, and fruits to the children who behaved well in the past year.

However, the children who have been naughty during the year, will get a lump of coal or twigs. The essence of this tradition is to teach the children manners and you will find that the kids around Poland usually wait for this period because they know they are going to get presents that they have been longing for throughout the year.

Christmas Eve in Poland

The Christmas Eve in Poland is all about waiting for the first star in the comfort of a home.

Perhaps this is the most important time in the Polish tradition as people wait for the first star that comes up on Christmas Eve. The star is an indication of the star that the women who went to see Jesus in Bethlehem saw. During Christmas Eve in Poland, people will spread hay beneath their table and this serves as a reminder of the time that Jesus was born in a manger.

According to the Polish tradition, there is always an empty sit well with food and this is usually left for the lord in some parts of the country. This is important because they can invite any wanderer or someone who needs somewhere to celebrate the festive season.

Christmas Eve is usually made up of a beehive of activities. People prepare different traditional dishes, decorate their houses, and do a thorough cleaning of their houses. Cleaning of houses is an important feature during this period because it ensures that when they welcome Jesus, everything is in order. 

Christmas Eve supper in Poland

The dishes served during this period are diverse. Opiatek is usually served during this period and this is a Christmas wafer. Ideally, this wafer is supposed to give people the best feeling and allow them to prepare for the upcoming feeling on Christmas day. 

The meals served on Christmas Eve are usually lean and in most cases vegetarian. In some of the regions around Poland, people prepare fish in different ways from sautéing to smoking and fish stew.

Twelve dishes are prepared during this period and it takes the symbolic meaning of the twelve disciples of Christ. The Christmas Eve dinner usually comes to an end with the exchange of gifts and the midnight mass.

Advent calendar in Poland

Perhaps this is the most important aspect of the Christmas holiday in Poland. You will find people from all walks of life preparing for the Christmas period. 

The advent is the time before Christmas and it is a vital period because it symbolizes the expectation of the birth of Jesus. This period usually lasts up to four weekends.

The Advent calendars are used in counting the days to the birth of Jesus Christ.  There is a wreath made of straws and twigs and during this period they will light a candle each Sunday until Christmas Eve. The color of the candles will vary depending on the region. In some places it is red, others pink, however, it is critical to note that people customize the Christmas candle colors to suit their taste and preference.

The advent calendar is usually filled with candy and sweets. During this period, the children will bring lit lanterns creating amazing scenery. There is also a special mass for the children called roraty.

Polish gingerbread

Perhaps the concept of consuming gingerbread during the festive period is not limited to one location in Europe. In Poland, you will find that people usually eat gingerbread on Christmas Eve. Pierniki, as it is commonly called, are traditional cookies baked weeks before Christmas and they are left to age.

The aging process is critical because it gives the cookies a rich taste. You will find that many cookies are usually hung on the Christmas tree during the Christmas period and you can sample some of them.

Christmas tree in Poland

One of the most fundamental things that you will need during the Christmas period is the Christmas tree. In Poland, it is a common tradition that the eldest person in the family or the male members of the household will take time to go to the forest and look for a perfect Christmas tree for the family. The most common trees that are used in Poland are fir and spruce. 

The tree is then brought home before it is decorated and ready for Christmas. Traditionally in Poland, the Christmas tree is often decorated with garlands, glass baubles, ornaments from painted eggshells, walnuts, shiny red apples, candles, and chocolates of all shapes and designs.

These decorations are usually lit on Christmas Eve before wiglia. The top of the Christmas tree features a star which plays a critical role as it is a symbol of the star that the wise men saw when they were visiting Jesus. In many homesteads around the country, the sparklers are hung on the tree and it gives a unique winter ambiance.

In Poland, the tree is left until February 2nd on the St. Mary of candle lighting day, before it is taken down.


This is the Christmas Eve supper and it is more common than you can imagine in Poland. The Christmas period in Poland is a time for fasting and then feasting. Wiglia feast usually begins once there is the sight of the star. During this period there is no red meat that is served. 

The most common dishes that you are going to find include carp and other fish species. The supper will include many traditional dishes that are found around the country and the desserts. The feast can last over two hours. Once the desserts are done it is now time to exchange gifts. 

The next day after Christmas is usually spent visiting family, friends, and distant relatives. Ideally, the Polish tradition is to bring togetherness and family closeness.

Christmas Eve supper is very unique. After the breaking of Opiatek, everyone at the table will eat the wafer and this is essential to note that it is a symbol of unity with Christ. The piece of the wafer is shared within the family and the tradition exists around the country that during this period they will prepare and serve twelve dishes which symbolize the twelve disciples of Christ.

The traditional Wigilia supper in Poland usually involves borscht, fried carp, and mushroom consommé with tortellini.  The carp is considered one of the most essential delicacies during this period. Gefilte fish, carp fillet, and carp in aspic are some of the most common ways that the fish is served.

As for the dessert, people will eat noodles with poppy seeds and dry fruits. The last part of the evening is usually dedicated to songs and stories and the family will bond over stories and children are taught the Polish traditions during this period.

Christmas Eve is never complete until the people go for the Christmas mass in the churches around.


These are some of the most common Christmas carols that you will find the people in Poland singing during the Christmas period. Christmas in Poland lasts from 24th December through February 2nd and depending on the region, you will see these traditions vary from one place to another.

Christmas ornaments in Poland

Christmas markets in Poland are filled with a wide array of gifts, decorations, and souvenirs. The most outstanding Polish tradition is that you will find handcrafted ornaments that ensembles the community in the region. It is important to understand that Poland produces some of the finest artwork in Europe and you are going to see some of the most iconic traditional artwork which are unique and perfect for celebrating culture and traditions.

The Polish blown-glass is usually made during the winter period and you are going to find this artwork and decorations present in the different workshops in the region.

Christmas is an exceptional period in the country and you will find that the people in the region celebrate it with savory dishes and sweets. The most common sweets that are produced during the Christmas period are called shrink. This is a Polish cheesecake and each family in the region has a unique recipe for this.

However, since they have perfected the art, the cake is tasty and bursts with different flavors. Kutia and makówki are far more common in the region. Kutia is a sweet that is made with wheat, poppy seeds, dried fruits, and honey while makówki has wheat and challah bread. The cakes baked also come in different shapes.


This is a common day for relaxing and bonding with other family members. It is typically held on the Boxing Day and therefore you will find that many people will tend to spend their time with their family members and visit their friends during this day.

Now that you know more about the Christmas in Poland, let’s learn more about the country itself:

Aurimas Bio

Hi there! I’m Aurimas, a man behind Go Look Explore. I’m passionate about hiking, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and everything outdoors related. Let’s connect.