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In Poland, the star is a Christmas symbol of great importance. On the evening of December 24th, the first star shining in the sky announces that the advent fast is over. At the dinner table an extra place is set in honor of the Christ Child. Straw is placed under the table cloth and on the floor as a reminder that Christ was born in a stable. Special peace wafer's blessed by the church are shared be- fore supper. After supper, the Star Man arrives dressed in a long robe and hat decorated with stars. The Star Man is usually a priest or family friend dressed in disguise. After quizzing the children on their religious instruc- tion, the Star Man rewards them with candy, fruit, and small presents. Frequently, the Star Man is accompanied on his journey by boys in costumes of the three wise men and other children dressed as animals from the nativity scene. A lantern shaped like a star and mounted on a long pole is carried to light the way. In addition to the Star Man, St. Nicholas brings pre- sents on December 6th. This means that Polish children receive presents from two different gift bringers during the Holiday season.
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