Christmas Wafers

My informant had a tradition that they took part in every Christmas. My informant and her family would go buy thing bread wafers. They would then meet up with their larger family for a party. At this party each person would have one wafer and would walk around and meet everyone there. After this started when they talked to someone they would hand out their wafer and the other person would rip off a small piece. The ripper would then wish the holder of the wafer “good health” or “prosperity”. The ripper would then eat the small piece. They would then switch places and wish the other good health or prosperity while ripping off a piece of the others. The people at the party would go around doing this until everyone had ripped off a piece of everyone else’s bread. It was a polish tradition according to my informant. My informant eventually moved away from her family though and she no longer participates in it.

This tradition is a way to bond a community closer together. The ripping and eating of pieces could represent giving yourself to the other person and becoming closer as a family. Christmas is traditionally that focuses on family and this reinforces that belief. This is especially as seeing that the tradition isn’t celebrated without a large family present. Even the responses became rituals over time as promoting a positive theme at the event is really important.