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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Russian/Ukrainian Christmas

Today is Orthodox Christmas.  We had our very first Christmas Meal on January 7th.  It included traditional Salad, Pelmeni and then Borscht.  Our desert was those Russian Cookies that are chocolate covered wafers. 
It was really fun!


Anonymous said...

what a great idea. I love borscht.

Annie said...

I feel rather like a loser not to have thought of this.... I guess it is because with the first set of kids we celebrated Epiphany big-time, and the two dates are so close. But, two of my children are so adverse to and even confrontational about religion, that our celebration of Holy Days has taken quite a beating.

I did make Russian food for New Years.....and, to be honest, I make it all the time! The two really special things are pirogi (because they are so hard, with yeast dough and all) and the Olivei salad, mainly because it is expensive. I haven't made either of those lately, and should.

Your table setting is so beautiful!

Christie M said...

Thanks Annie....
We have been thinking over the years how to incorporate both and I think we have come up with an idea to make the Holiday really meaningful both in regards to Heritage and Christianity.

We are going to work hard on studying tradition this year (for next year) and we will not be decorating until December 23, to prepare for Christmas Eve, where we will have a Traditional American Meal and worship time. We will begin the 12 days of Christmas on the 25- the 7th of January with a final Meal. The days inbetween, we will light the Advent Candle every 3 days(instead of the 4 weeks prior to Christmas) and we will open gifts once every 3 days during that time.
It will be a big change for us, but a much needed one. We will still have our traditional tree, cookies on the tree etc... and even celebrate New Years in the process. The girls are REALLY excited to start the new memories.... we are even going to plan one meal with Traditional Nevadan food for Anna. :) (she was born in Reno) LOL
I'm thrilled to focus on the purpose for the holiday and all the changes planned. :)

Milena said...

Interesting! Thank you for sharing! May I only ask why you will not light the advent candles on the Advent Sundays? Here in Sweden, traditionally only advent decorations are up during advent (the four advent candles, as well as stars and electrical "candles" in the windows) and Christmas decorations aren't up until closer to Christmas. However, with all things commercialized, people generally decorate earlier, though never as early as in November, maybe around Lucia (13th of December, celebrated big here). Not to criticize at all, I find it interesting how you plan to do a more thoughtful celebration of Christmas, I just quite understand the moving of advent!

Christie M said...

Milena, I don't know. LOL I'm trying to fit things in. We have never done an advent candle until this year. I obviously need to study more, but I have all year to do it. :)

Annie said...

We have the advent wreath beginning the first Sunday of Advent, lighting one more candle each week. We use the traditional (in the US) 3 purple candles and 1 pink candle. Sometimes on Christmas I change them all over to white. I think in Europe the color of the candles is not important as it is here....at least my German friend said so. She thinks the candles should be red.

Christie M said...

Thanks for that information Annie. I may be writing you later to find out more info. :) I had 4 maroon colored candles in it this year. I really need to study up more. I am really lax in this area because I was not raised in a liturgical church that followed a liturgical calendar.

Callie said...

Hi Christie, I love that you keep the girls' cultures alive and your table looks fantastic! The awesome thing about Ukrainian Christmas in Canada (and the USA) is that you get TWO Christmases!
You might try making Kasha next year and see if the girls remember it. In (some parts of) Ukraine at Christmas there are feasts for 12 days and the household has to have 13 dishes at every dinner for those 12 days. One of the dishes is always "Kasha" which is buckwheat made into a kind of pudding. Everyone has a different recipe for Kasha... I like it with just some honey and nutmeg, but one house I went to had whipped cream and mandarin orange slices in it.
Merry Christmas (again)!

Milena said...

Thank you for answering! I find it interesting that in the US, who I see as such a Christian country, the advent candles are rarely seen (not meant as criticism!). It is beautiful, especially here in the darkness of December :-) And the children are really careful that we don't keep the candles lit for longer than that there is still enough left of the first candle on the 4th of Advent :-) As for the colour of the candles, I can only answer for Sweden, but here the candles are usually either white or red - but I believe you should follow whatever tradition that is common where you live!

Christie M said...

The U.S. is so interesting. We have so many diverse cultures within our nation.
Christmas in America was really Hijacked by secularism and affluence a long time ago. Christ seems to sadly be a sideline, in many celebrations.

I know many conservative people who do not Celebrate with trees or gifts because they find that too secular. I know others who forget what the Holiday is about.
Part of that is to blame on our own busyness, and another part, our own laziness.
There are so many denominations here that are not liturgical. We were taught growing up that liturgy was a bad thing. I disagree.

I think there is something there that we are missing in the History of How Christmas was celebrated and why.
For instance, I had never heard of advent until I was an adult, and then didn't understand what it was. I never knew about colored candles until our pastor mentioned it on Christmas Sunday. He also called on all of us to think about HOW we celebrate and why. I think this was good.
I do know that in the early beginnings of our Country, the celebration was OUTLAWED by the Puritans. Anybody caught celebrating was punished. That is so odd to me, because I highly respect and like many of the Puritan writers, including Johathan Edwards, and have an ancestor who WAS a Puritan Writer. (Thomas shepherd)
So, I guess we are proof that it is not impossible to teach old folks new ideas. :)

We had a family discussion this a.m. on the subject and the girls are already excited about next year. LOL

Christie M said...

One of our Russian friends told us about the 13 course meals. I couldn't imagine! LOL
We served each part of our meal one at a time, like we were served in Ukraine and reminded the girls not to eat too much of each thing, because more was coming... and also not to finish everything, or it would be tradition to give more.
Our friend said that when he was little, (6) the food was so good, that by the time they got to desert he was too full to have any and he burst into tears. Poor guy. :)

Anonymous said...

Hmm I was looking at the chairs and... those look exactly like our chairs. :)

Annie said...

There are some fun days to mark in that week... For example, the Feast of the Holy Innocents. (Someone once told me it was traditional in England to have Angel Food cake with Strawberry sauce...yipes.) And I really enjoy the story of St. John, and St. John's wine - how his wine was poisoned but he drank it anyway, and lived through God's power.

Christie M said...

Wow Annie, I have a lot to learn! :)

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