Christmas couldn’t be much closer – and most people in Hyndburn will have got their turkey, tree and tinsel ready for a traditional Christmas Day celebration. But not everyone celebrates Christmas in the same way.
We spoke to Polish community project worker Bernadette Drozd to find out how 1,000 or so Polish families in Hyndburn will be celebrating.
Bernadette said: "Christmas Eve is more important than Christmas Day to Polish people.
"Many people travel to Poland to be with family and friends for the special Wigilia celebration on Christmas Eve.
"Others who will stay at their homes in Hyndburn will be joined by family and friends to celebrate Wigilia.
"This is an example of strong Polish tradition where religion and culture is inseparable."
The Wigilia Supper is celebrated by all Polish people throughout the world on Christmas Eve. It is traditional to fast until the evening Wigilia meal.
Bernadette said: "It is a very busy day as there is a lot of food preparation for the 12-course meal. It is a very special day of forgiveness.
"There must be no quarrelling on that day as there is a belief that bad behaviour will bring bad luck in the new year.
"Each member of the family has a special preparation duty, such as cleaning, decorating the tree, helping in the kitchen, setting the table or other duties."
For the meal, family and friends gather round a large table covered in a white tablecloth.
A little hay may be placed on the table in remembrance of Christ’s birth in a manger.
A candle, the Holy Bible and the Holy Wafer or Holy Bread called Oplatek are placed in the centre of the table.
A spare place is set at the table for an unexpected stranger or an absent member of the family.
The spare place is also in memory of the faithful departed. It was also customary to invite the lonely for the supper because on Christmas Eve no one should be left alone.
The meal starts when the first star of the night appears in the sky.
The head of the family lights the candle saying ‘Light of Christ’, to which everyone replies ‘Thanks be to God.’
The Gospel according to St. Luke 2,1-14: is read, after which the head of the family says a prayer for those they wish to remember.
They then take the Holy Wafer and say: "By sharing this wafer let us be at peace with each other", and exchange wishes with all present.
Bernadette said: "This is a solemn moment for all, when all wrongs are forgiven and affections are expressed. This is a very emotional moment that brings back childhood memories.
"This is the time when heartfelt prayers go to the Holy Child in the manger – God’s gift of love to us."
The Holy Wafer is also sent to absent members of the family, close friends and the lonely in foreign lands, to enable them to partake in communion with their friends and family.
Bernadette added: "The Holy Wafer is also shared with animals, mainly in the countryside.
"There is also a belief that animals speak in human voices at midnight. It is a very special evening for the animals as they were the first to greet Jesus when he was born."
Everyone then tucks into the 12-course Wigilia meal.
The courses traditionally include fried carp, beetroot soup with dumplings, stuffed cabbage, potatoes and many different salads.
It is a meatless meal and alcohol is not served.
The 12 courses represent the 12 apostles and the 12 months of the year.
After the meal,carols are sung at the table and gifts are exchanged.
The Wigilia celebration marks the end of Advent and the Christmas celebrations begin with Midnight Mass – The Holy Mass of the Shepherds.
Bernadette works for the Lancashire Europa Project, part of the Polish Catholic Mission for England and Wales.
The Polish community in Hyndburn will also celebrate a community sharing of the Holy Wafer at Maundy Relief, on Abbey Street in Accrington on Sunday, January 2 at 2pm.