Sharing the Christmas wafer (opłatek)
The sound of breaking of the Christmas wafer (opłatek) by the employees of the Museum of Municipal Engineering in Cracow (Poland).
Breaking of the Christmas wafer (opłatek) constitutes one of the most important traditions accompanying the celebration of Christmas in Poland. The custom is practiced during a ceremonial Christmas Eve supper (Wigilia) on the 24th of December.
Christmas wafer (opłatek) is a very thin white bread wafer, unleavened and unsalted, baked from white flour and without yeast. The custom of sharing the Christmas wafer is known also in Slovakia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Italy. It began in Poland in the late 18th century.
Christmas wafer (opłatek) is a symbol of reconciliation, friendship and love. Sharing it at the beginning of the Christmas Eve supper, accompanied by wishes for each other, expresses forgiving guilt and is a sign of willingness to be together. In Christianity it is a symbol of brotherhood, spiritual communion of members of the Church.
Sharing Christmas wafer (opłatek) is also practiced during Christmas meetings in companies, communities and institutions. Pink Christmas wafer is also manufactured. On Christmas Eve, farmers give it to domestic animals and cattle as a sign of union with all living beings.
Sound recordist: Monika Widzicka
Photographer: Iwo Wachowicz