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Christmas in Silesia, Poland

We celebrate it a bit differently than in the rest of the country.

Christmas in Poland is a very special time. But in Silesia, the region where I was born and raised and where all my family lives, we celebrate it a bit differently than in the rest of the country.

The most important day is Christmas Eve on the 24th of December. At my home, the preparations start early in the morning when all of the women (me, my mother and my grandmother) start cooking dishes for the dinner, bake cakes and make makówki – my favorite Christmas sweet dish made of poppyseed, nuts, and bread. When the kids spot the first star in the sky, the whole family sits near the table. We place some coins under the cross, for good luck in the upcoming year. We start the dinner with praying and then we wish each other all the best while sharing a blessed waffle. Then finally it’s time to eat – usually everyone is quite hungry because we are not allowed to eat much for the whole day.

On the table, you can find 12 dishes and also one extra plate – in case an unexpected guest comes. After the dinner children run to open the gifts – in Silesia we believe the gifts bring the Baby Jesus. At midnight families go to the church for the special holy mass. The 25th and 26th of December are days when we spend time at home with family, sometimes receiving guests or visiting family members. And of course everyone eats too much, but how can we not if there is so much good food on the table?

I am always happy to be at home for this magical time. And I recommend to any of you who will be visiting Poland during Christmas time to try our typical Christmas food, you won’t regret it.

Short bio of the volunteer:

I’m Anna, I come from Chorzow, a city in the south of Poland. I am 26 years old, I like traveling, learning languages and getting to know other cultures.


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.