|Celebrating Dzien Swietego Mikolaja
This week is the kick-off for Christmas in Poland. December 6 is St. Nicholas Day. On St. Nicholas Day, children, who behaved well all year long, find little surprise gifts - usually candy or small toys - hidden under their pillows or in their shoes. Kids, who were not so good, may instead expect to find a twig as a bitter warning... at least, such was the tradition in the past. In western Poland, “Gwiazdor” (literally the star man) gives presents on December 6. In southern Poland, presents are given by St. Nicholas that day, and by an angel on Christmas Eve. In Silesia, St. Nicholas Day is celebrated with gifts, and Baby Jesus gives presents on Christmas Eve. Learn more here
Make it yourself this year!
Ah, just hearing the word kolachi makes one long for a holiday celebration. Those fabulous sweet rolls filled with nuts, fruit or poppyseed served with a cup of tea or coffee and all the cares of the world disappear. This pastry originated hundreds of years ago in central and eastern Europe and goes by various, yet similar names. Universally known in Youngstown as kolachi, in Poland it’s called makowiec. Join us to make it yourself at Polska Kuchnia on Sunday, December 8 12 - 4 pm at the First Presbyterian Church on Wick Avenue in Downtown Youngstown. Pre-registered requested and space is limited. Cost is $25 per person. For more information call 330-333-9724 or register online here.
Polish Arts Club invites you to Wigilia 2013
Wigilia (vee-GEEL-yah), which literally means "Vigil" or "waiting" for the birth of Baby Jesus, is our club's annual celebration and recreation of what Poles around the world gather to do each Christmas Eve night. We hope you can join us again this year to be a part of this special event, as well as, take away with you a piece of our most treasured Polish traditions. The annual event will take place on Sunday, December 8, 2013 Noon - 5 p.m. at The Brier Hill Cultural Center (formerly St. Casimir’s Church) 145 Jefferson Street in Youngstown. Security will be on site all day. Paid reservations were due earlier this week but perhaps there is still room. Contact President MaryAnn Mlynarski at (330) 647-9634 to inquire. Complete info is available HERE
Showin' our holiday spirit at Millcreek Park
Polish Youngstown was one of 45 non-for-profit organizations that decorated a tree at the Davis Center in Mill Creek Metroparks for the Winter Celebration 2013 being held throughout the month of December. Led by Community Outreach Coordinator Marianne Poprik, volunteers who decorated the tree placed in it a garland bearing the phrase, "It's Imperative to Know Your Heritage" throughout the tree. The phrase was taken from the "Polish Youngstown Polka" written especially for the group. Pictures of ancestral family members were sent in by team members and friends of PolishYoungstown and were used as decorations on the tree. Straw ornaments from Poland also adorn the tree. The Davis Center will have an array of lights, flowers, trees, entertainment and refreshments to enjoy while viewing the trees on Sunday evenings in December from 5-7 PM. Visitors can also view the trees during regular daytime hours from 10 AM – 5 PM Tuesday through Saturday. Stop by and share some holiday spirit!
Kolednicy & Polish Happy Hour
This year we are combining two of our favorite things to spread some Christmas cheer—and we hope you will join us! On Thursday, December 12 Christmas Caroling and Polish Happy Hour, Boardman Krakowiaki is leading a caroling group to the Greenbrier senior facilities on South Avenue from 4:30-7 PM. This has become an annual tradition for both the participants and the residents—many of whom are of Slavic heritage and are thrilled to get this visit that is a blast from the past. Afterward we will proceed to Vintage Estates-accordion and all-to enjoy a holiday Polish Happy Hour! It is the season for giving…why not chose this opportunity to join with your Polish friends to give of your time to the community. Call Marianne 330-272-2210 to sign up!
Gift ideas to add some Polish to your presents
Every year right before Christmas my phone starts ringing from folks looking for a little something to give to their Polish grandpa or uncle. We are thrilled to provide! Stuff the stocking with felt pierogi or chocolate pierogi. Dress your baby in a tiny Stan the Pieróg onsie! Send your brother in San Diego a “Polish Pride, Polish Youngstown” t-shirt. And your aunt would love a copy of the Black Madonna CD and prayer card! We’ve got this and much more! Email or (330) 333-9724 to let us know how we can help! And don’t forget to shop with some of our favorite vendors online: Europeanfolkart.com and the Polish Art Center.
Your Polish Tastes by Barbara RolekIn Polish families, Christmas is a time for friends to pay each other a visit. That means a glass of Christmas cheer, coffee or tea, and sweets, if not a full-blown meal. That's a lot of entertaining, so weeks before Christmas, my family would get out the cookie tins and start baking traditional Polish cookies or ciasteczka na święta. It was such a fun time. We played Christmas carols and sang while we worked -- a real Santa's Workshop. These days, with family scattered, we usually do our baking solo, but still keep tabs on each other's baking. You'll find Polish Christmas Dessert Recipes here.
Holiday cookie baking time always includes some form of kolaczki
The most popular of these baked goodies are kolaczki. These are different from the nut rolls Chef Tad will be baking this weekend that I understand Valley residents call a similar name. Sometimes called Polish Foldovers, these tidbits can be square, diamond shaped or round. The dough can be made with cream cheese, sour cream, ice cream or yeast. They exist in most Eastern European cuisines and are spelled variously as kolaci, kolache, kolacky, kolachky, and I'm sure a few more. Fillings run the gamut of apricot to raspberry to prune to cheese. Some truly untraditional flavors like pineapple are sneaking into the mix. There's always room for creativity. This recipe is for a flaky cream cheese dough. Why not try some for yourself with one of these kolaczki recipes here.
News from US Polonia Washington, DC
Closer look at Walesa
Oscar-winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda brings the story of Lech Wałęsa and the Solidarity movement to the big screen. The Embassy of the Republic of Poland is screening WALESA. Man of Hope at the opening night of the European Union Film Showcase 2013 on Thursday, December 5, 7:15 pm and Saturday, December 7, 1:00 pm. The sharp screenplay hinges on Wałęsa’s landmark 1981 interview, just months before Poland declared martial law, with famous Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. The film recounts in flashback the previous decade-and-a-half of activism. As the story unfolds, we get a real sense of the precarious position Wałęsa was in as he tried to grope his way through uncharted territory to victory against the communist party - often caught between the younger, radical members of the strike committee who urge him to push too fast, too soon and those who accused him of ‘selling out’ for his willingness to consider compromise with the communist authorities. Walesa would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983.
News from Poland
So you want to know about Poland
For the 10 million people of Polish ancestry in the United States, as well as many who have settled in the UK since the fall of communism, being Polish is no joke instead it is a heartfelt matter. Just ask the friends and coworkers of the PolishYoungstown Team who are constantly subjected to stories, legends and tidbits about the culture we love. Now we can just hand them The Essential Guide to Being Polish. It is described by the authors as “a guidebook for the lapsed Pole, non-Pole living in Poland or anyone remotely interested in... the essence of Polishness.” This concise, easy-read is going to become the go-to resource for anyone looking to reconnect with their culture or, indeed, gift for friends, children, or colleagues so they can learn something about our heritage. Read a colorful review here and the others news in the most recent edition of Polish Media Watch.
Sunday, December 8 12-5 Polish Arts Club annual Wigilia Dinner... Tuesday, December 10 Deadline to order Wigilia To Go... Thursday, December 12 Christmas Caroling and Polish Happy Hour, Boardman... Sunday, December 15 4 PM Lira Folk Ensemble Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh co-presented by the Polish Cultural Council... January Polish History Class begins.
Aundréa and Your PolishYoungstown Team