Christmas is coming. The evidence of it are everywhere in Poland right now. Last Thursday, I watched the giant Christmas tree in Bielsko-Biala get set up in the town square. Not only that, the castle in the town was lit up with blue light and dancing snowflakes. According to the locals, this is just the beginning. Apparently Bielsko-Biala won an award last year for their Christmas decorations. I can’t wait to see what else they will do to this cute city.
On December 6, Poland had St. Nicholas Day. This is holiday for only children. Santa Claus (St. Nicholas) gives children an early Christmas present, getting them into the holiday spirit. This holiday is very new to me. If kids back in North America knew about this holiday, they would not stop bugging their parents to buy them gifts on both days. On Friday, the day before St. Nicholas Day, none of the children in the primary school would not pay attention to their classes. Classes were interrupted with Santa Claus bringing treats and cookies for all the kids. Some of my first grade boys wore Santa hats with long white bears. It was too cute!
On Sunday, I went to Krakow to visit the Christmas markets there. I just have to say that I haven’t had a lot of fun Christmas shopping for my friends until now. I would love to write about what I bought, but then family members who read this would be spoiled. I am not going to let that happen!
The Christmas market is full of souvenirs, sweets, toys, and fresh food that is cooked right in front of you. My favorite is the mountain cheese with jam. It sounds like a strange combo, but it is very, very delicious. I first tried the Polish mountain cheese when I first arrived, but the cheese in the market is the best I had so far. I wish I could send the cheese back home for everyone to try.
There were also Christmas parades with motorcyclists wearings Santa suits as well as a marching band. It is only the 7th of December, but it seems as if everyone is Poland is in the Christmas spirit – and so am I.
But not everyone is in the Christmas spirit. When I went to the Seventh-day Adventist church yesterday, I discovered that none of the Adventists celebrate Christmas at all. The most they will do on that day is take advantage of the day off and have dinner with extended family. When I asked them why, they told me that Christmas is a Catholic holiday, the Christmas tree is idolized, and Jesus was not born on December 25. They did make good points, but I did explain why Christmas is important to our family and that the Adventist churches I know in America celebrate Christmas. Still, I do not see anything wrong about getting into the Christmas spirit. For me, it is celebrating Christ’s ultimate gift to the earth by coming to us as a baby so that He can ultimately save us.
I am pretty sure that I will write several more posts about the Christmas spirit in Poland and all of Europe. Stay tuned for more!!!