Garbage dropped at the neighbours’ door – the Christmas Eve customs of Cracovians

According to Seweryn Udziela, Cracovians celebrated certain activities on Christmas Eve, believing that they would bring them prosperity in the coming year. One of these activities was a morning bath in water with a silver coin, which was to be a harbinger of future wealth, thrown into it. The family’s health in the following year was dependent on who would be the first to cross the threshold of the hut that day. If it was a man, the family could rest easy, believing that any illnesses would give their home a wide berth. A woman crossing the threshold first was a bad omen which meant that diseases would not leave their home.
Additionally, „They would surreptitiously drop the rubbish swept from their rooms at a neighbour’s door, so that fleas, bedbugs and other would vermin move there”[1].
Before the Christmas Eve dinner, the head of the family would invite a wolf: „Wolfie, wolfie, take a seat and dine with us, but if you do not come today, do not come ever”[2].
It was also believed that an even number of people should sit at the Christmas Eve table because an odd number heralded the death of one of the residents.

See also: Kraków Bronowice cottage and its domestic equipments.

Elaborated by: Editorial team of Małopolskas Virtual Museums,
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 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.


[1] S. Udziela, Krakowiacy, Kraków 1924, p. 34.

[2] Ibid, p. 35.