Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

No, I'm not late. How many of you actually know that the Russian Christmas is tomorrow? I had no idea. Tonight I was invited to have a traditional Russian Christmas dinner. It consists of twelve courses of Russian food, made without meat or dairy products, vegetable dishes, breads, desserts. It was wonderful. I was a little worried that I would be able to eat anything since I'm generally an all-american meat and potatoes eater. I was worried that I wouldn't like the dishes that were served, but they were wonderful! Homemade bread dipped in honey and garlic. Three Machinkas (I just love saying that word). Pierogies, prunes. It was really delicious. I was definitely full. One part of this traditional dinner is that you set a dish for Christ at the table and as the dishes are passed around, Christ's plate is served as well and at the end of the meal, the plate is taken outside to feed the animals. Another tradition is that noone leaves the table. If someone leaves the table, that person may leave the family that year. So we had to be prepared to stay at the table the entire meal. Another tradition is that you take a shot of honey and vodka between each course. Thankfully we didn't observ e that part of the dinner or I'd be asleep somewhere under that table!

A couple of things that I thought about were that this tradition is celebrating the real meaning of Christmas. They aren't hung up on presents and what everyone is going to get. It's about spending time together and celebrating Christ's birth. One other thing was that in our culture we are so Christmas centered. I actually thought about the fact that other people don't celebrate Christmas and don't celebrate it in the way we do. But here we spend at least a month preparing for Christmas and a couple of weeks recovering! It was nice to see the way that other people celebrate. When I was growing up I always loved going to the Festival of Trees at the useum and learning about the way other cultures celebrated Christmas.

So I guess that Christmas can really be over now. We can return to our normal lives...

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