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1.	St. Nicholas in a fresco at the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Kalisz, photo: Agencja SE / East News

Most Poles receive their Christmas presents from Santa Claus – but did you know we have five other mystical figures dishing out gifts during the winter holiday season too? Culture.pl investigates the myths and even the maths when it comes to getting presents in Poland.

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Procession of the Three Kings, photo: Leszek Kotarba / East News

The tradition of writing these letters has its origin in the 18th century. During the communist regime, many Poles continued this tradition as a demonstration of their own beliefs.

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Moczka, photo: Paweł Kiszkiel /AG

Polish culinary tradition is extremely varied and each region serves dishes virtually unknown in other parts of the country. This fact is no different when it comes to Poland’s famous Christmas Eve dinner. Here are Culture.pl's suggestions for an alternative regional Christmas menu.

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Christmas Eve Dinner Table at the Polish Housce, Rosario/Argentine, photo: nac.gov.pl

Polish Christmas traditions are some of the most enchanting composites of Polish culture and heritage. Leaving a chair empty at the Christmas table may be one of the most popular customs, but few people know its interesting history.

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Carol singers in Bukowina Tatrzańska, photo: Adrian Gładecki/Reporter

Poland really loves its Christmas carols. And there are thousands of them. One even nearly became the national anthem. Here’s a quick look at the history of the genre and its most popular examples.

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One side of the cover of Under Water, Under Earth by Aleksandra & Daniel Mizieliński, 2016, photo: promo materials

Stuck for Xmas present ideas? How about a beautiful book on Polish cuisine, a board game set in an alternative 1920s, or a photo album showcasing a star of the Polish Poster School? These items and more are among Culture.pl’s pick of potential Christmas gifts that’ll bring a bit of this year’s Polish culture to your loved ones, even the non-Poles.

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At the Christmas Eve table, photo: Michał Jankowski / Forum

If you ever end up spending Christmas in Poland, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that it will be the warmest, most unforgettable Christmas experience. The bad news is that some of the traditions might be too surprising to face unprepared, so better read Culture.pl’s guide to avoid unnecessary stress and possible faux pas.

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Christmas table ready for 12 vegan dishes, photo: Diana Domin / Forum

For Poles, Christmas Eve is one of the most important holidays, and, of course, is mostly just about eating. And Poles take their festive food very seriously. An old tradition has it that a 12-dish Christmas Eve dinner is a must. Culture.pl introduces you to a new wave of this tradition, with a surprising twist: it's 100% vegan.

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Still from Christmas Eve by Jerzy Stefan Stawiński and Helena Amirradżibi. Photo: Tadeusz Biernacki / The National Film Archives / www.fototeka.fn.org.pl

Like in most Central European countries, Christmas in Poland is a quaint and much-beloved affair. However, while Germanic traditions, like decorating trees, have spread so far as to be unsurprising, Polish customs remain delightfully distinctive.

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Drowning of the 10-meters tall Marzanna in Jeziorzany, Poland, 2014. Photo: Jacek Świerczyński / Forum

Every country has customs that shock and confuse foreigners. Polish people going about their daily business or celebrating special occasions often do things that will make your jaw drop, but are considered perfectly normal here.

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Второй «этаж» краковского рождественского вертепа. Фото: Петр Тумидайский / Forum

Kraków's extravagant tradition of ‘szopki’ are a fusion of flamboyant castle, nativity scene, glamorous marionette theatres and playing ground for political satire.

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A short history about Poland's obsession with the film Home Alone, otherwise known as"Kevin Sam w Domu". It's not really Christmas without it.

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Kadr z filmu "Diabelskie szczęście", fot: Filmoteka Narodowa / http://fototeka.fn.org.pl

Christmas Eve tradition includes twelve dishes and desserts which reflects the rich and multicultural culinary traditions of Poland.

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