This is a part of the Christmas Around The World guest post series, in which bloggers from across the globe will be telling us all about Christmas in their home country. Today we have Agness from eTramping, sharing an insight into the holiday season in Poland.

Why don’t you start by introducing yourself?

I’m Agness, one half of the eTramping duo, who has been travelling the world for less than $25 a day since 2011. I originally come from Poland and, although I do not spend every Christmas back home, I am a big fan of traditional Polish cuisine served at Christmas and the traditions that I always try to replicate no matter where in the world I am.

What does Christmas day look like in Poland?

Most of the Christmas ceremonies in Poland take place before the Christmas Eve supper.

One of the most popular rituals is the blessing of the fields with holy water and the placing of crosses made from straw into the four corners. Moreover, it is believed that animals can speak with a human voice.

A few minutes before everyone sits down at the Christmas table, straw is put under white tablecloth as some maidens predict their future from the straw. After supper, they pull out blades of straw from beneath the tablecloth. A green one foretells marriage; a withered one signifies waiting; a yellow one predicts spinsterhood; and a very short one foreshadows an early grave.

In Poland, an additional seat is kept for somebody unknown at the supper table because we strongly believe that no one should be left alone at Christmas.

Traditionally, the Christmas tree is decorated on the Christmas day - quite an event for children. A typical Polish Christmas tree is adorned with apples, oranges, candies, small chocolates wrapped in colourful paper, nuts wrapped in aluminium foil, hand-blown glass ornaments, candles or lights.

Christmas Day, called the first holiday by the Poles, is spent with the family at home. No visiting, cleaning, nor cooking are allowed on that day; only previously cooked food is heated. This is a day of enjoyment, for Jesus was born. We sing songs together, eat a lot of food and chat with each other.

One of the most beautiful and most revered Polish customs is the breaking of the opłatek, a thin wafer made of flour and water.

What food is served for Christmas dinner?

Cooking and baking is crucial when getting ready for Christmas. The more you eat, the better! We also believe that baking, cooking and then eating brings the family together. There is no red meat served but fish, usually carp. The supper, which includes many traditional dishes and desserts, can sometimes last for over two hours. The top Christmas dishes that must be put on the table in Poland are:

- Makowiec - A poppy seed pastry that is traditional in Poland, always eaten around Christmas. It consists of a roll of sweet yeast bread with a very dense, rich, bittersweet filling of poppy seeds.

- Red borscht with ceps raviolis (uszka) - A beetroot soup, probably the most popular soup for that day. The Christmas version varies from the common one. Christmas bortsch requires a sour base ("zakwas") which is to be made a few days in advance.

- Pierogi - The Christmas version of those half-circular dumplings is stuffed with cabbage or sauerkraut and dried forest mushrooms such as ceps.

What are the most popular Christmas songs?

Kolendy and pastorałki are two types of Polish Christmas carols; kolendy are religious hymns celebrating the Nativity and pastoralki are the secular shepherd's songs that also celebrate the birth of Christ, but these were never accepted as dogmatically accurate by the Church. We sing them a lot during Christmas.

What is your favourite Christmas memory?

Getting back home for Christmas after over two years spent in China. I surprised everyone by showing up in front of my house entrance!

Thanks Agness! Are there any other Polish readers out there? What does your Christmas look like?