Christmas in Poland: Gifts and Carols
Other Christmas Eve activities include singing kolendy, or Christmas carols, opening gifts, and attending Midnight Mass. Poland’s gift bringer is known as the “Star Man.” Polish folk tradition teaches that he brings presents to children on Christmas Eve. The star boys, a group of carolers dressed as characters from the Nativity story and carrying a star-shaped lantern before them, often accompany the Star Man. In past times the village priest sometimes dressed up as the Star Man and visited homes on Christmas Eve. This strict Star Man might quiz children on their knowledge of the Catholic catechism before handing out gifts. The star boys continue their activities throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas, the days between Christmas and Epiphany. They appear on street corners and doorsteps, singing Christmas carols and hoping to be offered coins and treats in return.