orgot to mention...
in my last post, the night before Christmas Eve (aka Christmas Eve Eve) when we went Polish Christmas caroling in Fells Point. For those who don't know Baltimore, Fells Point is on the harbor east of downtown and has traditionally been populated by working class families of Irish and Polish heritage. It has been gentrified over the recent past but pockets of it's ethnic past persist and some traditions continue. One of those traditions, heretofore unbeknownst to me, is caroling through the streets of the area sponsored by the Polish Home Club.
Rosie, a kid whose father grew up in Wales and whose mother is of Greek heritage, treasures this tradition that she started in childhood with a good friend who lived in the area so Tim, Cathy, Rosie and set off to partake. Initially, I was just along for the ride but once there I was completely enthralled to be a part of such a Baltimore-esque holiday scene.
There were probably about 200 people traipsing behind a pick-up truck with a band on the back to lead the singers. Some dressed in reindeer ears, Santa hats, and plastic poinsettias but others obviously older folks of Polish heritage who knew all the words when we sang the traditional carols. Mind you, most of the songs were NOT in Polish - there was Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and most of the other faves.
We stopped in a couple of Polish churches (yes, there's more than one) to warm up and to sing a carol or two. In the first church the priest was standing on the alter holding something small and black in his hand. He welcomed everyone and put in a plug for the Christmas Eve and Christmas day masses then, after introducing the carol, touched the thing in his hand which turned out to be an iPod and organ music boomed forth. It has been a long time since I've been in a church!
After the churches, wandering the streets a bit more and a drink in a local bar, our little group went back to the Polish Home Club where many of the participants had concluded the evening to join in the polka dancing. What's a Polish event without polka???