Snowflakes and Wafers

Today’s modern Polish Christmas Carol is from Grzegorz Turnau one of the leading practitioners of the old sung poetry genre. The song compares the snowflakes (płatki) falling on the grey city with the ritual of opłatek which is the heart of the Polish Christmas Eve Wigilia celebration – the biggest holiday event of the year.

The modern tradition is not as described in the Wikipedia link. Now every person stands face to face with each other (in turn) as they break off pieces of the other’s wafer and apologize for any wrongs and wish the other person well in the coming year and then eat the wafer they’ve broken off. The title is dumb but there is no graceful way. The original is a lot more graceful than the translation.

Snowflakes and Wafers

Snowflake, light little nothing
Snowflake, white puff
Falling ever lower
Now it’s in my hand –
and gone

Snowflake, light little nothing
Wafer for our holiday
so white,
whole like the puff of snowflakes
We share the water
as white snowflakes
onto grey buildings
fall from the sky

Płatki – opłatki

Płatek – leciutkie nic
Płatek – bielutki puch
Opada coraz niżej,
już jest na mojej ręce
– znikł

Płatek leciutkie nic
Opłatki na święta nasze,
bielutkie,
całe jak płatków puch.
Dzielimy opłatki,
gdy białe płatki
na szare kamienice
spadają w dół.

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