Monday, December 07, 2009

Oplatki-The Christmas Wafer

When I spent my first Christmas with my husband's family, I was introduced to the charming custom of sharing the Christmas Wafer (or Oplatki as they say in Polish). I received my wafers today and thought I would share the story of the Christmas Wafer with you: From the package of the Christmas Wafer


The word Bethlehem means "House of Bread". The breaking of the bread is a sign of charity, unity, and friendship. Religious family traditions and customs bring the truths of Faith into the home. One of these beautiful Christmas customs is the Christmas Wafer. A Wafer bearing a simple design commemorative of Christ's birth is broken by the head of the family and distributed to each member. With a simple prayer for God's grace and the welfare of the present and absent members of the family, the head family member breaks the Wafer and distributes it, a piece to each one at the table. While doing so each member of the family is kissed and wished a joyful feast. The other family members then greet one another in the same way.

The spiritual lesson in this age old custom is unity of the family-the main pillar of society. The bond of unity is the Christ-like charity that should exist amongst the members of the family. The One Bread, One Christ, and One Church. The family joins him in this eternal procession no matter where they are. For there is a universal longing by men to be always with one another, with God.

All this brings to mind clearly our charity for one another, to seek salvation together. Family customs remind us that we seek and obtain salvation with the help of others at all times.

Just another way to bring Christ back into our Christmas celebration. And after all, isn't he the reason for the season?

3 comments:

Joe Pollhein, Sr. said...

Thank you so much for that! I don't even think I have ever realized the importance to this level. Nicely done, baby!

Anniebananie said...

We will be doing the Polish Oplatki tradition for the second year in a row. It makes me tear up every time I think of it. Our religious and ethnic traditions are so important to pass on to our little ones! I consider our home our Domestic Church. Christ is the head of our home. God bless you and may you and your have a very happy and blessed Christmas!

Grace said...

It is gratifying to know that others participate in this wonderful tradition. We have family in Poland and each year they send us Oplatek to be shared at our Christmas dinner. Our grandchildren look foward to sharing this Holy Wafer and it has become our family tradition.