Wayne State Students and Faculty Enjoy Wigilia and Slavic Customs By Raymond Rolak


DETROIT– The Wayne State University Slavic Klub, which includes students of Ukrainian, Russian and Polish language study, hosted a traditional Wigilia dinner at the historic and iconic Polish Village Café in Hamtramck, Michigan. Proprietor Carolyn Wietrzkowski and staff served a well-received multi-course dinner with symbolic Christmas delicacies. Faculty advisors, Alina Klin, Ph.D., and Laura Kline, Ph.D., coordinated the event.

Dr. Alina Klin and Sebastian Szczepanski
Dr. Alina Klin and Sebastian Szczepanski

The sharing of the Opłatek (wafers) and good wishes among the partakers started the festivities. There were over 70 students and supporters participating. Dr. Klin explained the custom of opłateki, encouraging everyone to break off pieces of their wafers to share and wishing luck, joy and good health in the upcoming year. Student president of the organization, Karyna Sitkowski, was also an enthusiastic ambassador, mingling from table to table.

Picture: Dr. Alina Klin of Wayne State University and bilingual journalist Sebastian Szczepanski,
look over some of the hand made Christmas ornaments made by Karyna Sitkowski in Detroit recently.

The dinner included, Kutia (wheat-honey-poppy seed appetizer), Sledzie (creamed herring with onions), traditional vegetables, Barszcz e uszka (beet-root soup with forest mushroom dumpling), fish, groch i kapusta (sauerkraut with yellow sweet peas), pierogi (assorted dumplings) buckwheat with mushroom sauce and compote (fruit beverage). Traditional makowiec (poppey seed cake) and gingerbread rolls, along with a custom cake creation highlighted the dessert options.

The new Dean of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures    Dr. Anne Duggan spoke briefly. “This event reminds so much of the holidays that I shared in my native Milwaukee when I was a young girl. This group of students is unique as their passion for culture and traditions is so very well showcased by this outstanding presentation. Dr.’s Klin and Kline are to be congratulated this evening for their passion and enthusiasm. It is wonderful that so many Master candidates and recent graduates are participating also,” she said.

Other special guests included Professor Kenneth Brostrom, Professor Alfred Cobbs and Hamtramck Mayor, Karen Majewski. Brostrom gave a short history of the Wayne State Slavic Department.

After dinner, former student Ernest Barnett, who emceed the festivities, led off the singing of Kolędy (Christmas Carols) in English, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian and German. The enthusiastic vocals by the dinner participants were accompanied by strings and violins. The evening’s program emphasized inclusion of all the Slavic nations. Dr. Kline was especially enthusiastic getting all the tables to participate and she noted that cultural enrichment is also an important part of the mission statement for the WSU Slavic Klub. Her efforts produced many wholehearted Christmas voices to highlight the live musicians that accompanied.

The audience and public were also invited to a special exhibit hosted by the WSU history department throughout December at the undergraduate library on campus (near Gullen Mall) titled, Democracy in the Age of Extremes: Spotlights on the History of Europe in the Twentieth Century”. The exhibit portrays Europe’s twentieth century as a dramatic history of the struggle between freedom and tyranny, democracy and dictatorship. Inspired by the year 2014, it invites viewers to take a historical pulse of the past century. The exhibition presents 190 photographs and images from numerous European archives.

In other campus news, Michelle Tomaszycki of the Phycology Department has just been awarded a two year Whitehall Foundation grant to study “The Role of Nonapeptides in Vocal Communication”.

Raymond Rolak 

POLISH CLUB ONLINE, 2014.12.14

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