Interviewer: “Where are you from?”
Informant: “Litchfield, New Hampshire”
Interviewer: “Okay can you tell me about your family traditions?”
Informant: “Um…yes I am…so I’m French, Polish, Irish, Lithuanian, Hungarian, and Italian but…the thing is…equal parts everything except for two parts Irish, umm just for context. But the thing is my family has only ever celebrated like…actively in my Polish and Irish side. Um…we tend to celebrate St.Patrick’s day pretty hardily. He have a lot of like traditions. We listen to a lot of traditional…like uh traditional Gaelic music. Um…bands like The Berry McNeals and so on so forth. We very much tend to listen to those types of music. And our Irish heritage just generally throughout something that we’re pretty proud of. Um…but in terms of actual traditions…we uh picked up a polish tradition called the Oplatek on Christmas Eve where um… there’s this… basically we don’t follow it strictly because the story behind it is a little bit more long form than we have time for. But um…essentially what would happen would be…a priest I believe would distribute loaves of bread…to…um…to each…to every house or something like that then like towards the start of the Christmas season I think. And then like they would break that load of bread like um…on Christmas Eve. As I understand it. Um…but the important part is the breaking of it on Christmas Eve and um…saying ‘This blessing may have health, wealth, and happiness in the golden crown of heaven.” Um saying that blessing over it then I believe it’s the oldest member starts…the head of household starts and then they pass to the left. Until everyone has a piece of bread. Then they all eat it and it’s like just a part of like a ceremonial kinda thing.”
Interviewer: “So it’s religious?”
Informant: “Yes but no. It’s um…it’s religious based but it’s culturally religious. It’s a culturally specific celebration of a religious thing. My family is Catholic and so um generally practices Catholic holidays. Even though I’m atheist, I still observe Catholic holidays with them just because at this point, it’s not anymore about the religion side of it so much as celebration with family and experiencing those celebrations together.”
The informant talks about a Christmas tradition in his family. In it, there is bread and on Christmas Eve, the eldest or head of household takes the bread, breaks it, and passes it to the left. Once everyone has bread in their possession, they bless it and then eat it. This tradition is a Polish tradition and has roots in Catholicism. However, I find it very interesting that it isn’t about Catholicism anymore. I asked the informant and he said that he still celebrates it even though he’s atheist. He claims that the tradition has lost it’s original meaning and is now more about spending time with family. It’s very similar to Christmas as a whole. It’s also slightly reminiscent of Folklorismus. More like Folkloristmas I guess.