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WALES: Why Wales' Polish people wait for tonight's first star; HOW OUR NEWEST COMMUNITIES MARK

THE FESTIVE SEASON.


BEATA Kulanek natters Natters is a muncipality in the Austrian state of Tyrol in the district of Innsbruck-Land. • • [ to a customer in her delicatessen shop in their native Polish as she expertly twirls the wares up in a paper bag, before turning to me in English. The customer cheerfully bids me farewell in Welsh as she makes her way out of the door on to Porthmadog's decorated streets. There's a spring in her step as she looks forward to today, when the Poles traditionally have their main Christmas celebration. Such is the cosmopolitan nature of today's Wales, with even places like here on the western fringes having seen a surge of people making their way here from central and eastern Europe The term "Central and Eastern Europe" came into wide spread use, replacing "Eastern bloc", to describe former Communist countries in Europe, after the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989/90. in a bid to better themselves financially. Many of them have come from Poland, with up to 10,000 Poles believed to have settled at least temporarily in the Wrexhamarea, according to according to prep. 1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians. 2. In keeping with: according to instructions. 3. some estimates. In such situations new linguistic communities spring up to keep loneliness at bay, especially at Christmas: further west it's even more difficult. PC Gary McLeod Gary McLeod was the Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in South Carolina's 6th congressional district challenging incumbent Democrat Jim Clyburn. McLeod previously ran against Clyburn as a Republican in 2004, 2002, and 1998 but lost with 33% of the vote in 2004, 32% in 2002, is North Wales Police's diversity officer for Flintshire and Wrexham, and the instigator instigate tr.v. instigated, instigating, instigates 1. To urge on; goad. 2. To stir up; foment.

[Latin behind the Otwarte Drzwi (Open Door) project in Flint, making individuals aware of their rights and responsibilities. The project's services are available at the end of the phone or through a weekly drop-in centre based at the town's River Dee Community Church. "The Polish community are the largest non-indigenous community around here by far," he says. "98% of our service users will be Polish nationals, but we're eager for us not to be seen as an exclusively Polish project." He explains that many of their clients will be trying to return home for Christmas, and that others will be making the best of things over here. "Christmas is a very, very important date for the Polish community. The two girls working with me here were very homesick last Christmas, but this year they're going back home. People not able to go home are helped by the ever increasing availability of Polish foods." That's where Beata comes into the equation. She runs the Polish Deli in Porthmadog's Snowdon Street, the local Polish community sufficiently strong to keep the business ticking over nicely. But, while some of her compatriots will be making their way home for the very traditional Polish festivities festivity n. pl. festivities 1. A joyous feast, holiday, or celebration; a festival. 2. The pleasure, joy, and gaiety of a festival or celebration. 3. , being in business means that Beata has to stay put with Welsh partner Dafydd and their daughter Megan. She has that wistful look in her eyes as she tells me how Christmas is a very different affair in her native Silesia Silesia (sl`zh, sh, s), Czech Slezsko, Ger. Schlesien, Pol. Śląsk, region of E central Europe, extending along both banks of the Oder River and bounded in the south by the to what we celebrate in Wales. "Christmas Eve, or Wigilia, is an important part of the Polish Christmas: in fact, the most important rituals are celebrated on this day," she explains. "It's on this day we eat our Christmas dinner. When the first star appears in the sky, people take their seats at the Christmas

table, where there is always a free seat for an unexpected guest. "Traditionally, there should be 12 dishes. We share an oplatek before we start eating, an oplatek being a piece of bread pressed with a holy image on the surface, being seen more as symbolic than as food. "Afterwards children can open their presents. The evening continues by singing Christmas songs - called koledy - until about midnight, when those who wish it go to the pasterka or midnight mass to welcome the newborn Jesus." She says that alcohol is strictly forbidden within many families on Christmas Day and what we call Boxing Day, a period set aside for meeting up with members of the family. Yuletide in Wales has certainly in many people's eyes descended into a furious flurry of shopping and merry-making in the days preceding December 25, culminating in a Christmas Day that turns to be an anti-climactic drudge of gluttony Gluttony See also Greed. Belch, Sir Toby gluttonous and lascivious fop. [Br. Lit.: Twelfth Night] Biggers, Jack one of the best known feeders of eighteenth-century England. [Br. Hist. and TV repeats. Gone are the days Dylan Thomas reminisced about in his 1955 classic short story A Child's Christmas In Wales. It was an eye-opener for many emigres from the new countries of the European Union, such as the Poles, when they spent their first Christmases here. For them, Christmas is still very much a spiritual festival, with the festivities spread out way before and after the end of December. Throughout Poland, for example, the fun starts on December 6 when St Mikolaj - the Polish incarnation of Father Christmas - brings kids their first gifts, before returning again on Christmas Eve. Christmas trees retain pride of place and carols are still sung right until the end of January. Christmas markets such as the huge one in Krakow's Rynek Glowny central square open daily throughout December, while puppet nativity plays are hugely popular on the streets. The festival has, of course, been commercialised in post-communist Poland, as in other countries in the region.

But it still retains strong links with its Christian roots in a country still overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, in spite of its former Communist rulers' officially atheist stance. But, in spite of many Catholic churches' best efforts, it would seem that language difficulties will deter many Poles from attending mass in Wales tonight, even at such a hugely symbolic time as this. Beata Kulanek however has ensured that her customers - mostly other Poles, but including other nationalities such as Ukrainians and Latvians - are stocked up with essential foodstuffs foodstuffs npl → comestibles mpl foodstuffs npl → denres fpl alimentaires foodstuffs food npl → to enable them to enjoy as traditional a celebration as possible. Among her most popular items was carp, seen more as a game fish than an eating fish over here, but a delicacy in Poland that tends to be the centrepiece of tonight's Christmas dinner much as turkey will be for the rest of us (abuse) for The Rest Of Us - (From the Macintosh slogan "The computer for the rest of us") 1. Used to describe a spiffy product whose affordability shames other comparable products, or (more often) used sarcastically to describe spiffy but very overpriced products. 2. tomorrow. Her Christmas will of necessity have to be a compromise between Welsh and Polish traditions. Not that she's complaining. The influx of people from Poland and other parts of central and eastern Europe gives her a business opportunity that wouldn't otherwise exist - any time of the year. CAPTION(S): Beata Kulvanek is well stocked up with goodies at Porthmadog's Polish Deli making sure all the local Polish people can get their drzwi