Seattle, WA (PRWEB) October 11, 2012
Take a tour of one of Krakow's small factories producing Poland's famous hand-blown Christmas ornaments. Learn how to make traditional Polish-style pierogi with your own private chef. Gather with a Polish family for a traditional Wigilia, the Christmas Eve vigil and dinner. The award-winning travel specialists at MIR Corporation are delighted to announce their 8-day Christmas Traditions of Poland tour from December 18-25, 2012. Prices start at $3,095 and more information can be found at http://www.mircorp.com/tour_ctpol.asp or by calling 800-424-7289.
In Krakow's UNESCO-listed medieval Market Square, travelers browse the Christmas Market where some of the country's finest artisans display handcrafted gifts. Sampling regional delicacies and hot mulled wine, and preparing Polish pierogi under the guidance of your own private chef are only a few of the intriguing activities on the itinerary. Guests will also enjoy a torch-lit sleigh ride bundled in blankets, and then warm up by a bonfire, roasting kielbasa and tasting Polish vodka.
“Our Christmas Traditions of Poland tour is very intimate and hands-on,” said MIR Corporation founder Douglas Grimes. “Guests attend a workshop with artisans who craft Christmas decorations by hand, and tour a factory where the famous hand-blown glass ornaments are created.”
After four days in Krakow, guests travel by train to Warsaw and take a walking tour of Warsaw's Royal Road, decorated with curtains of stylish white lights. The Warsaw Christmas Market is another highlight of the Christmas Traditions of Poland tour; hand-painted pottery, crèches, and gingerbread ornaments invite browsing among the festive stalls. Guests also have an opportunity to observe an array of elaborate Nativity scenes across the city.
“One of the absolute highlights of this tour is the traditional family-style Christmas Eve vigil and dinner know as a Wigilia,” said Grimes. “Wigilia is considered more important than Christmas Day itself.”
The celebrations begin when the first star appears in the Eastern sky. Guests can taste each of 12 traditional dishes, as well as desserts like the poppy-seed pastry called makowiec. The foods represent the four corners of the earth – mushrooms from the forest, grain from the fields, fruit from the orchards, and fish from the lakes and sea.
After dinner, guests join their host family at a midnight church service of Christmas caroling. The Midnight Mass is known as Pasterka or Shepherds’ Mass, as the shepherds were the first to greet the Baby Jesus. This yearly service is so integral to the Polish Christmas tradition that even nonbelievers participate in the joyful ritual.
“The rich Polish Christmas traditions begin early on Christmas Eve,” said Grimes. “Some families cut boughs of evergreen to tuck behind holy pictures in the home or above entryways, the mother of the family places a lighted candle in the window to welcome the Christ Child, and the eldest woman of the house places the blessed Communion-like wafers on the finest plate she owns. It’s really an extraordinary tradition to experience.”
Join MIR Corporation’s Joanna Millick on this holiday journey through her home country. A native of Warsaw and a former guide and tour leader in Central and Eastern Europe, Joanna called on her local knowledge to help design and create the Christmas Traditions of Poland program. She is the perfect leader to accompany this festive tour.
For more information on the Christmas Traditions of Poland tour or to extend your time in Poland with visits to Wroclaw or the northern city of Gdansk, contact MIR Corporation at 800-424-7289.
About MIR Corporation
MIR Corporation, whose name means "peace" and "world" in Russian, has specialized in Russia (and neighboring countries) since 1986. Offering scheduled and custom journeys to Russia, along the Trans-Siberian and across the Silk Route, MIR's Seattle-based experts design imaginative trips that take travelers far from the familiar, and work closely with local affiliates in Western Russia, Siberia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to carry them out. MIR has twice been named one of National Geographic Adventure's "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth," and is a preferred operator for museum, alumni and special interest organizations across the country.