On this unique holiday tour of Poland, guests will make traditional pierogi with their own private chef, experience the traditional Christmas Eve vigil and dinner with a local family, meet the artists who produce Poland’s renown hand-blown Christmas ornaments, enjoy a torch-lit sleigh ride bundled in blankets, and more. MIR Corporation is delighted to announce its 8-day “Christmas Traditions of Poland” tour from December 18-25, 2014. Prices start at $3,395. For more info, visit http://www.mircorp.com/trip/christmas-traditions-of-poland/ or call 800-424-7289.
In Krakow's UNESCO-listed Market Square, guests will browse the elaborate Christmas market where some of the country's finest artisans display their handcrafted wares. After four days of exploring Krakow, holidaymakers will travel by train to Warsaw and witness the Royal Road, decorated with curtains of stylish white lights.
“The Warsaw Christmas market is a major highlight of the tour, with hand-painted pottery, crèches, and gingerbread ornaments,” said MIR Corp Founder Douglas Grimes. “There is also an opportunity to see the wonderfully elaborate nativity scenes across the city. They are phenomenal.”
Another highpoint of the tour is the traditional Christmas Eve vigil and dinner known as a Wigilia. In Polish communities, Wigilia is considered more important than Christmas Day itself. Guests will sample 12 traditional dishes, as well as desserts like the poppy-seed pastry called makowiec. The foods represent the four corners of the earth – mushrooms from the forest, grain from the fields, fruit from the orchards, and fish from the lakes and sea.
Following the dinner, voyagers will join their host family for a midnight church service and Christmas caroling, known as Pasterka. This yearly service is so integral to the Polish Christmas tradition that even non-Christians participate in the joyful ritual.
“Polish Christmas rituals begin early on Christmas Eve,” said Grimes. “Mothers place lighted candles in the window to welcome the Christ Child, and the eldest woman of the house places the blessed communion-like wafers on the finest plate she owns. It’s really an extraordinary tradition to witness.”