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Christmas and Easter in Poland

12 dishes on Christmas Eve and buckets of water on Easter Monday, those are just an example of how we celebrate this special time in Poland.


Christmas in Poland is celebrated for 3 days starting from Christmas Eve. Dinner starts with the first star in the sky, which refers to the Star of Bethlehem which the three kings saw on the way to the Infant Jesus. When the whole family is ready, we start by sharing wafer and make wishes, then we can start eating. Traditional dinner on this day consists of 12 meatless dishes and trying each of them should guarantee happiness during the next twelve months. Typical dishes, for example, are beetroot soup with small dumplings stuffed with mushrooms, herring in many variations, carp, special pancakes with apples, pasta with poppy-seed. Additionally, each region of Poland can have some specific dishes. On the traditional table, it cannot miss the additional plate for an unexpected guest and hay under the table. When the dinner is finished everybody opens the gifts which are under the Christmas Tree and later some of the people go to a special midnight Mass. During the next two days, there are no special traditions, people mostly meet with family for dinner and attend special masses.


There are many celebrations in Church during Easter time. The most important start on Palm Sunday which is the last Sunday of fasting and reminds us of the way of Jesus to Jerusalem. Mass starts from the procession and everybody comes with a palm usually made from a special kind of grass, grains, and flowers which are very colorful. Since this day starts Holy Week with special masses. The main celebration with families falls on Easter Sunday and Monday. On Saturday people go to Church with an Easter bucket which contains food which will be eaten for Sunday breakfast, e.g.: eggs, cheese, butter, horseradish, and many other products. Children have fun preparing painted eggs, which are also put into the basket. On Sunday people go to morning mass and after that meet with the family to eat breakfast. This breakfast cannot miss the sugar Lamb of God which symbolizes the resurrection of Christ.

The most popular tradition on Easter Monday is dousing people with water. It can take various forms: from a symbolic water drop to putting dressed people into the bathtub filled with water, there are no limits. Children especially are big fans of this day.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Anna from Poland, graduated in finance and accounting, experienced and skilled in marketing, passionate about cooking, dancing, and reading.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth, and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing to a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.