I spent a part of my evening tonight taking inventory–inventory of the various CDs of Polish Christmas Carols (Kolędy in Polish) that I own. I have just over 20 CDs, some as CDs, some as albums in my iTunes library, and some as MP3s which means I probably still have a CD buried somewhere in a closet, but years ago I converted them to MP3s and put them in my local online music library.
And I have a confession to make–I listened to some of them tonight. Yes, I played Christmas Music well before the legal date of Thanksgiving. I am probably going to hell for that. And if caught, I could do big time in jail, I’m sure. But I’m not sorry. I’ll do it again. I happen to love Polish Christmas carols. Now, I don’t always know what they are saying, thought I know the titles and what they mean, and I do try to learn a little bit more each year. But for many of them, I know the words–by heart! I can sing them in Polish even if I don’t quite know what I’m saying. I simply love the music.
My earliest memories of Christmas as a child are of going to midnight mass at the beautiful St. Hedwig’s church in rural Thorp, Wisconsin. Sadly, the church was “decommissioned” by a former bishop (I won’t even mention the name, because if you can’t say anything good–and I can’t–well…..). However, the memories linger on. And I remember the mass in Latin, the songs in Polish. How beautiful they were, even if I did not know what they were singing. So, my earliest memories of Christmas are of Polish Christmas carols–along with the English ones we played at home (but we also had some of the Polish ones)–and of the traditions that my family observed at Christmas, specifically Wigilia, which I still observe, religiously, each and every year.
So, at this time of year, my thoughts are turning toward Christmas. It would be a dream of mine to spend it in Poland some year. I’m not sure that will ever happen. But you know, I spend it with a few polish friends and relatives here, and that is pretty darned good as well. And so tonight I am going through my Kolędy collection and looking for what music I do not have, so I can either find and download it on iTunes, or order the CD through Polart online. Yes, every year I order a bunch of Polish stuff from Polart, I love that place. But it woudl be even better to be in Poland, for sure.
Which reminds me of a story about my recent trip there. I was in Kraków and Chris Kulinski, the organizer of our tour, asked me if I’d seen a particular store, a bookstore of sorts. I had not, but later as I was walking around, I found it. I wish I could remember the name now. But it was a huge book and music and computer game store, several stories tall and even with a basement. I spent a considerable amount of time wandering around. It was mostly full of younger people and the music certainly was catering to a younger crowd. But eventually i found a clerk and asked him, in my poor Polish, if they had any Kolędy. He seemed surprised by the request, but politely answered nie or no. Dang! Well, I tried. I did not find any Kolędy when I was in Poland, but then again, it was not the right season for it either. So, I am relegated to paying much more for it from importers such as Polart, a price I am certainly willing to pay.
Are you intersted in learning more about Kolędy or in getting some of your own? Well, i have more info on my regular web site here. Oh, and if you go there, i apologize in advance for the music on that page–it’s the Polish National Anthem, often known as Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła, or more properly, Mazurek Dąbrowskiego. But it only will play through once! Anyway, check it out if you want more info.
So I hope I’ve whetted your interst a bit. Kolędy are very beautiful hymns, and I love them a lot. I hope you will too!