It’s still Christmas time at the Cuban-​​Polish household

Christmas Eve

Christmas time is spe­cial at our house­hold, as it is in most Christian homes. (We call ours the Cuban-​​Polish house­hold because daddy is Cuban and mommy is Polish. Original, huh?) There are a lot of dif­fer­ences between the ways the two cul­tures cel­e­brate Christmas but the thing that’s com­mon is that Christmas Eve is the Big Day, not Christmas Day. Christmas Eve is when we have the big meal and exchange presents. Christmas Day is for relax­ing in your PJs and snack­ing on leftovers.

Christmas tree in the process of being decorated.

Christmas tree in the process of being decorated

In Poland, they don’t dec­o­rate the tree before Christmas Eve but then keep it around until some time later. In mommy’s house, the tree stayed up until Three Kings’ Day (Epiphany) or January 6th. In grandma’s house, they kept it until February! So now you under­stand why we don’t really get into a Christmas mood before Christmas Eve but stay in it until early January.

Samson on ladder

Samson help­ing to dec­o­rate the tree

Cubans eat roast pig for Christmas Eve (they eat roast pig for all occa­sions.) in Poland, Christmas Eve in a fast day and so the meal is built around fish and veg­etable dishes. Poles also have the cus­tom of shar­ing com­mu­nion wafer with each other and wish­ing each other good things for the com­ing year. Under the table­cloth, they place a lit­tle bit of hay to remind them that  Christ’s first bed was a hum­ble manger. (Mommy gets all that stuff at a Polish church nearby, it’s all blessed and every­thing). And they set an extra place at the table for any unex­pected guests because they believe that no one should spend Christmas Eve alone and so all won­der­ers are invited into the house. Needless to say, they is always enough food for a whole crowd of extra guests!

The Case of the Missing Scales

decorated Christmas tree

Christmas tree decorated

A habit which I think must be strictly pagan and was intro­duced to mommy’s fam­ily by her grandfather’s sec­ond wife (whom mommy kindly called her aunt) is this: You wrap a scale from the fish you ate on Christmas Eve next to a coin, leave it under the tree for the night and then put it in your wal­let to make sure you have plenty of money in the com­ing year. Mommy makes lit­tle pack­ages of scales and pen­nies wrapped with tis­sue paper and scotch tape. I’m sorry to report that the Cuban-​​Polish house­hold is in for lean times accord­ing to this tra­di­tion because the scales dis­ap­peared from under the tree. We have not found the scales or the cul­prit. Maybe they are some­where around the house and the house will be rich, which would be OK by us. We are hop­ing they are not in anyone’s stom­ach, just wait­ing to obstruct and cause vet fees, thereby mak­ing us poorer.

Cats and presents

Frangi with presents

Frangi with presents

Well, what­ever will be, will be. In the mean­while, here are some pho­tos of us with the presents. These are the humans’ presents; ours were in a cab­i­net so we wouldn’t help our­selves to the cat­nip ahead of time.

Java and Samson with presents

Java and Samson with presents

You can see that that Samson is just look­ing for trou­ble. What do you think the chances are he knows exactly where those fish scales are? Pretty darn good, I would say. *fluffs tail.*

Merry Christmas Time and a Happy New Year to all! Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrs.