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Saturday, December 6, 2008

X'mas!


In Russia? NOoooooooooo it is NOT on the 25th of December.. Majority of the russians r orthodox christians so they do not follow the typical x'mas day.
The Russian Orthodox Church still uses the old Julian calendar; therefore, its Christmas celebration falls on January 7th, 13 days behind the West. It's a day of both solemn ritual and joyous celebration. Before this date, Orthodox Russians fast for six weeks. This Fast is completely vegetarian and requires that there must not be any parties or gatherings. After the 1917 Revolution, Christmas was banned throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations. It wasn't until 75 years later, in 1992, that the holiday was openly observed. Today, it's once again celebrated in grand fashion, with the faithful participating in an all-night Mass in incense-filled Cathedrals amidst the company of the painted icons of Saints.



Christmas in Russia is associated with a number of other practices, which represent a blend of tradition from Russia's Christian and pre-Christian past. It was once common practice, on Christmas Eve, for groups of people masquerading as manger animals to travel from house to house singing songs known as kolyadki. Some kolyadki were pastoral carols to the baby Jesus, while others were homages to the ancient solar goddess Kolyada, who brings the lengthening days of sunlight through the winter. In return for their songs, the singers were offered food and coins, which they gladly accepted before moving on to the next home.


Throughout Russia, after Christmas Eve services, people carrying candles, torches, and homemade lanterns parade around the church, just as their grandparents and great-grandparents did in the past. The Krestny Khod procession is led by the highest-ranking member of the Russian Orthodox Church. After the procession completes its circle around the church, the congregation re-enters and sings several carols and hymns before going home for a late Christmas Eve dinner.

Christmas Eve dinner is meatless but festive. The most important dish is a special porridge called kutya. It is made of berries, wheat or other grains that symbolize hope and immortality, and honey and poppy seeds that ensure happiness, success, and untroubled rest. A ceremony involving the blessing of the home is frequently observed. The kutya is eaten from a common dish to symbolize unity. Some families used to throw a spoonful of kutya up to the ceiling. According to the tradition, if kutya sticks there will be a great honey harvest.

And to the orthodox christians their x'mas figure is not Santa Claus but jus as similar their x'mas icon is called Ded Moroz.. otherwise known as Grandfather Frost. He gives presents to children on a personal basis and he does this with the help of his granddaughter, Snegurochka or otherwise known as the Snow Maiden.































Thats Grandfather Frost..





















And this is Snow Maiden..

Traditionally, the "Holy Supper" ( which is served on x'mas eve ) consists of 12 different foods, symbolic of the 12 Apostles. Although there was also some variation in the foods from place to place and village to village, the following is a good summary of what is typically served.

1) Mushroom soup with zaprashka (or Sauerkraut soup)
2) Lenten bread ("pagach")
3) Chopped garlic
4) Honey
5) Baked fish
6) Fresh Oranges, Figs and Dates
7) Nuts
8) Kidney beans (cooked slowly all day) seasoned with shredded potatoes, lots of garlic, salt and pepper to taste
9) Peas
10) Parsley Potatoes (boiled new potatoes with chopped parsley and margarine)
11) Bobal'ki (small biscuits combined with sauerkraut or poppy seed with honey)
12) Red Wine


And check out this video i found about a particularly interesting x'mas decoration..


video



XD

Ciaoz..

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