Today’s Christmas Carol (and all the rest though teh 25th) is from a 1999 collection by the Polish film composer Zbigniew Preisner entitled My Carols for the End of the Century (Moje kolędy na koniec wieku). He wrote the music for 12 new carols in a variety of styles while the lyrics were supplied by various writers. The performers were mostly moderately well known singers and/or actors. In today’s carol the group is a folklore ensemble from the southern mountain region of Podhale.
The Podhale region exerts a strong pull on the collective imagination in Poland and the mountaineers are stereotypically good hearted and boisterous (only occasionally prone to violence with their ubiquitous axes). And just as Applachian music became the default sound of folk music in the US music from Podhale is the default sound of Polish folk music (though Poland has mostly lost touch with its pre-WWII musical heritage. The song is in a version of a mountain dialect. After WWII most of the traditional dialects in Poland began disappearing and turning into accents of standard Polish. Podhale is one of the very few places where traditional dialects can be heard, possibly cultivated because tourists expect to hear it.
My translation is from the standard Polish to the right. Since the author of the text is from Warsaw the original was probably standard Polish and the folklore group converted it into dialect.
The references to an empty place at the table stem from the Polish tradition of setting an extra place at the Christmas Eve table for an unexpected guest.
Christmas Eve Has Come
Get ready for Christmas Eve, the time has come,
and still someone isn’t here with us
and someone is supposed to come,
for at the table an empty place waits.
Star of Bethlehem lead him through the world
so that he can sit with us at the table.
Lead him here from faraway roads
So that he can celebrate with us.
Light his way, for it’s easy to get lost
give him hope when the wind blows in his eyes.
Go help him weary and fatigued,
For no one can be by themselves tonight.
To już pora na wigilia
Tô juz pôra na Wilijom, tô juz cas, To już pora na wigilię to już czas
a tu jesce ftôsi chybio pôśrōd nos. a tu jeszcze kogoś nie ma pośród nas
A tu jesce ftôsi ku nom môze przỳjść, a tu jeszcze ktoś ma przyjść
bô przỳ stôlē wôlne miejsce ceko dziś. bo przy stole wolne miejsce czeka dziś.
Gwiozdo Betlejymsko prowodź gô bez świat, Gwiazdo Betlejemska prowadź go przez świat
côby razym s nami przỳ tym stôlē siod. żeby razem z nami przy tym stole siadł
Przỳwiydź gô tu dô nos s tyk dalekik drōg, prowadź go tu do nas z tych dalekich dróg
côby razym s nami kôlyndōwać mōg. aby razem z nami kolędować mógł.
Dej mu światłō, bô tak łatwō zmylić ślad, Daj mu światło, bo tak łatwo zmylić ślad
dej nadziejē, kie mu w ôcỳ dujē wiatr. daj nadzieję, kiedy w oczy wieje wiatr,
Strudzonymu, zmynconymu pômōz iś, strudzonemu, zmęczonemu pomóż iść,
bô samiućki nik ni môze ôstać dziś” bo samotny nikt nie może zostać dziś.