Breaking Bread

Breaking BreadHeres a program from our archives.ambience: Wigilia mealWe’re in upstate New York taking part in the traditional Polish celebration known as Wigilia. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Wigilia is a Polish word which means ‘the meal served on Christmas eve.’ Traditionally, Wigilia begins with the breaking of bread. A thin wafer which has been blessed by the church is broken and shared among family members.”Our evening starts when everyone is here, then the oldest member of the family, which in our case is my 96 year old mom, she will take the blessed Duboitik which is like a communion wafer and the oldest family member will start with either her children or her siblings and break bread, and then everyone will take what they have and break bread with everyone else, wishing them either good health or success in the career or just happiness”Florence Sowa celebrates Wigilia in West Seneca, New York.”When you break bread with someone, you take some of theirs, because they’ll have some from somebody else that they have gotten and you’ll eat some of theirs and they’ll break off some from your hand. So actually, you’re breaking bread with everyone that is there that evening.”And, for the family members who can’t make it to this year’s Wigilia, the breaking of bread happens through the mail. Relatives send each other pieces of their Wigilia wafers as a kind of long-distance Christmas blessing.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.

Breaking Bread

The Polish Christmas tradition of Wigilia.
Air Date:12/23/2020
Scientist:
Transcript:

Breaking BreadHeres a program from our archives.ambience: Wigilia mealWe're in upstate New York taking part in the traditional Polish celebration known as Wigilia. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Wigilia is a Polish word which means 'the meal served on Christmas eve.' Traditionally, Wigilia begins with the breaking of bread. A thin wafer which has been blessed by the church is broken and shared among family members."Our evening starts when everyone is here, then the oldest member of the family, which in our case is my 96 year old mom, she will take the blessed Duboitik which is like a communion wafer and the oldest family member will start with either her children or her siblings and break bread, and then everyone will take what they have and break bread with everyone else, wishing them either good health or success in the career or just happiness"Florence Sowa celebrates Wigilia in West Seneca, New York."When you break bread with someone, you take some of theirs, because they'll have some from somebody else that they have gotten and you'll eat some of theirs and they'll break off some from your hand. So actually, you're breaking bread with everyone that is there that evening."And, for the family members who can't make it to this year's Wigilia, the breaking of bread happens through the mail. Relatives send each other pieces of their Wigilia wafers as a kind of long-distance Christmas blessing.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.