The front and back of the Oplatky (Christmas Wafers) made at Pentecost each year, are pictured above. The front of the oplatky is imprinted with the figure of an angel and the Slovak words Narodil-sa-vam spasitel, which means "Unto you is born a Savior." The reverse size of the oplatky features a communion chalice and wafer and the words, Slava-na-vysostech Bohu, which translates to "Glory to God in the highest."
The custom of making oplakty (Christmas Wafers) is a link that joins today's Pentecost members with the Slovak heritage of our church's beginnings. In English, the word oplakty mans wafer. Members of our church have prepared oplatky since the early 1920's. Older Slovak women began the tradition when they brought the recipe from Czechoslovakia. These wafers, which may be used in combination with an enclosed devotion during the holiday season, symbolize the oneness in Christ of all Christians and especially the members of our Pentecost congregation.
The wafer making process is a tedious and time consuming effort, as the wafers are made by hand, one at a time. A spoonful of thin pancake-like batter is poured onto a large iron, much like a very oversized kitchen tongs. The ends of the tongs are plate-size ovals which feature the design pictured above. The batter is "cooked" for approximately 15-20 seconds, at which time the now crisp wafer is carefully peeled off of the iron, hopefully without breaking the wafer. Wafers are then carefully packed into packages of six or twelve wafers and are distributed to those who have expressed an interest in receiving them, both within and outside of our congregation, including friends of Pentecost in destinations all over the United States and even outside of the country. While the oplakty are not "sold," many wafer recipients make a small donation (generally a few dollars) in appreciation for the efforts that have been put into maintaining the Oplatky tradition.
However, the tradition of oplakty does not stop with the distribution of the wafers during the holiday season. Many of the plate-sized wafers break during the oplatky making process. All is not lost when a wafer cracks and breaks. It simply leads to another unique tradition at Pentecost which extends the whole year through. As wafers break or do not quite pass the "quality assurance" review for size, shape or the expected golden-brown color, the larger, remaining pieces of the broken wafers are made into smaller, bite-sized, circular wafers which are used throughout the year as we celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion.
To request Oplatky for your Christmas celebration, please call the church office at (262) 633-8920 or email our church office at PentecostLutheran@gmail.com.
Oplatky -- All Over the Country
Over the years, Pentecost Lutheran Church has been able to share its Oplakty traidition with families all over the country. While this tradition was once practiced by many families in our originally Slovak heritage congregation, the bulk of our requests now come from outside out congregation. With a small group of dedicated volunteers, we were able to send Oplakty to the following locations during the 2020 Christmas season: