WESOLYCH SWIAT from the Polish Gallery

A SZOPKA is a Christmas tradition in the Krakow region of Poland. The szopka looks like a castle or cathedral with turrets or spires reminiscent of the architecture of Krakow.  A nativity scene is generally on the second floor of the szopka. There are costumed figures in regional dress surrounding the outside of the ground floor. The family gathering Christmas scene is pictured  inside this floor. A szopka may be as big as room size or as small as a small tabletop. It is made by a craftsperson and each year there is a contest in Poland to determine the best one in size and category. The museum szopka is a large tabletop one and on loan from St. Stanislaus Church in Rockford and was made by a priest and local craftmen from the church in 1988.

Caroling is an important tradition in Poland. Between Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany, carolers walk from house to house carrying a star on a pole and a nativity scene incorporated withi it. The carolers usually wear folk costumes or dress up as kings, shepherds, angels or other characters from the nativity story. The carolers also perform nativity plays as well as singing carols. At the houses they visit, they receive warm food and drink.

Enjoy the Christmas decorations and tree ornamented with fruit, nuts and decorations made of straw and paper in this gallery.