Today there will be no morning Hili dialogue, for in her Feline Wisdom she offers us instead a special Christmas Eve monologue about the true meaning of the holidays. She refers especially to Christmas traditions in her native land. You can see it in the original Polish here.
She may deign to provide us with a few additional remarks later.
As you see, she is speaking ex cat-hedra from her throne, which doubles as a manger scene.
When it comes to tradition I have to say that this Polish tradition of fasting is completely alien to my whole way of thinking. Maybe it is because I was spared the “grace of faith”, or maybe it’s because of my good appetite. Anyway, I’m submitting a motion that fasting be deleted from the list of rituals connected with Christmas. I do not have an opinion in the matter of the Christmas tree, but I miss it a bit. An ornamented tree indoors (especially in the winter, when there may be rain or even snow outside) is an attraction for a cat which is not worth giving up for such trivial reason as a deep disbelief.
It is a different matter with the nativity scene in the stable; there is nothing stable about it because it has many interpretations. It is surely possible to debate endlessly about who was born in a barn, and where and when exactly, and to ponder the form and content of the manger (how mangy was it?), but it is more rational to conclude that we know too little, and that some people confabulate what they do not know with a passion worthy of a better cause. Let’s not get stalled in the ox stall; let’s not make a scene about it. Instead of wild guesses let’s make a nativity scene set in reality.
Of course, nobody has to agree with me, but I have the impression that those plaster figures are pure kitsch. They are in a taste… how to put it? – to be honest I do not have faith in their beauty. So, if we have to have a nativity scene, let’s have it only with cats. It can be a simple cardboard box with some hay or just a cardboard box with any fine sweater or blouse of the woman of the house, and the nativity scene is ready. We can discard the Christmas carols, but the food should be traditional. I mean, without the ritually murdered carp so essential for a Polish Christmas Eve. Herring would do for humans, and for me – salmon and later some cream and special treats.
Tradition demands that one place is left unoccupied for an unexpected guest, but it is better not to wait until the guest comes, but to take somebody in and give him or her a bowl of milk and something more substantial which has nothing to do with fasting.
Family traditions are different in different homes, and apparently the more plaster figures there are, the more people share out a tasteless piece of holy wafer that no cat would think of putting in its mouth. In our family we sit in front of the computers and share the knowledge we find there. The tradition of sharing is a good one, so now I share with you the tail of a mouse I ate long before the fast ended with the first star in the sky.
–Translated from Hili’s Polish by Sarah Lawson and Malgorzata