are available in the parish office. Donations accepted. Nothing says “I love you,” at least in my Polish-American family, quite like the sharing of a thin, flat, wafer called an oplatek at Christmas. Before sitting down to Christmas Eve dinner, many families with roots in Poland and other Eastern European countries will take part in this tradition, which has roots dating back hundreds of years. Christmas Eve marks the end of Advent.  Before the meal, though, came a small, informal ceremony — one that is still carried out in many homes, including in the U.S. At the start of dinner, just after grace, the male head of the household takes the wafer and expresses his hopes for his wife in the new year. He might wish her good health, or ask for forgiveness for some fault. The wife breaks off a piece of the oplatek and eats it. She then reciprocates the good wishes and shares the wafer with her husband. And the ceremonial sharing of wafer and good wishes continues with older relatives, guests and children, starting with the oldest.

 

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