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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

By this time you've forgotten all about Christmas..


Hello everyone.

The title said it all quite well - we're in January, and it has been some time since all the Christmas-related euphoria has went quiet.. meaning: it is high time for ME to get super-excited..

...because...
..tonight is a snow-covered Christmas Eve!

(THIS truly is how my province looks like, 
way back, you can see the next town - it is that flat)  :)

Tourist guide-books will tell you that this is the time when we all gather round the table and have some massive food-gluttony "fiesta", but fat-free; since today's the last day of 40-day lent. The tourist guide will also tell you we're having roasted fish and other varieties fish-based meals; and lots of breads - in a dining room decorated with straw, and red ribbons. It will write about kids caroling dressed like trick-and-treat(ers) - receiving chocolate and candy in return for their songs; about fireworks being fired from every corner; late at night even some stronger "bangs" as the host gets a few glasses of vine more than the lady of the house would like him to... and.. *sight*...

THIS is more like it. :)

What the Tourist guide-book does not tell you, is that every region, every province has their own way of celebrating Christmas Eve. And, as much as I love the western-oriented idea of our families indulging a feast.. my people (by "my" - I mean: from this region) has always treasured Christmas Eve as a toned-down, quiet, family event. Children did carol (gosh, I've done it - as my feet were freezing), but there were no masks; and no candy.. apples and walnuts were good for you. :)
Since any of my elderly can remember, the family would listen to caroling, and then (when the night covered the paths) - the oldest member of the family would lock the door.. so we can dine in peace. Unlike other regions, peace plays a vital role in Christmas Eve over here.
The straw was placed underneath the diner table, and some ever under your table-cloth.. so that the year becomes hunger-free. Some corn seeds would find their place under the table.cloth as well. The meal would be: bean soup, bean-stew, walnuts dipped in honey (adorable meal!) and apples.

...but come Christmas...

People call this our province's "Holly Trinty":
1. the chicken Soup
2. Rindfleisch (boled meat) - clearly - "borrowed" from our German friends
3. Sauce (tomato OR dill sauce)

Then roasted chicken (if one can manage it). Having a sip of "sparkling water" (direct translation, this is how we call "carbonated" water) helps prepare you.
You DO need preparation, because just when you think your tummy will burst, you are called to rse up and, then you take a breath, and get to munch into "česnica" (don't follow the link, since OUR version looks and tastes nothing like that piece of bread) :)

...much more like it:
rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo 
filled with chopped nuts and dates 
sweetened and held together with honey

And, now - allow me to give a statement: 
I am not, by writing this, trying to make other versions of Christmas celebration anything less glorious, joyful and loving - I love the images of folks breaking the bread-based "česnica" on the street, and the images of  family table wonderfully set, with candy being given to caroling kids.. those are the images of Christmas in my country's main region - but, here.. I simply wanted to show you how WE celebrate it..

..
Have a magnificent evening my darling friends!
..and have yourself a Merry Orthodox Christmas! (do come for small cakes and cookies - we also make those for Christmas, too) :) 
Marija

7 comments:

  1. Have you perchance a spare seat at your table, my sweet friend, because that delicious Christmas meal is making my stomach rumble (literally!) - especially the delicious looking soup. What a hearty, wholesome, classic little feast to tuck into on this most special and beautiful of days. With all my heart, I wish you and your family a marvelous holiday celebration and hope that your year ahead is every bit as warm and wonderful as your Christmas dinner.

    ♥ Jessica

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    Replies
    1. Darling,
      You know you are (and Tony as well, naturally) ALWAYS WELCOME at my table. :)

      Marija

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  2. Hello Marija!

    I've only recently discovered your blog and I really really like it! And after reading this Christmas post, I decided it was time for me to leave a comment, for I have myself, for the very first time ever, celebrated Orthodox Christmas this year! :-) So reading about the česnica made me smile, because that's what we had.
    The reason for me celebrating while not being orthodox is that my boyfriend was born and partially raised in Serbia. Last year, we didn't celebrate together, but this year, for the first time, I experienced the Orthodox Christmas. It was wonderful! So I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as mine! :-)
    And I'm hoping to read many many new and interesting articles on your blog! :-)

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    Replies
    1. This is an amazing story, my dear.
      Not many times I get to read about people's first Orthodox experience.. you can freely contact me if there's anything in particular you'd like to know about our people, the way we live...

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    2. Thank you, I very probably will have questions to ask! :-) I actually have been in Serbia one time, but unfortunately only for a couple of days..

      For now, I have my fingers crossed for your exam!!!

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  3. I love reading about others holiday traditions. Yours sound absolutely lovely and so meaningful. I would gladly pull up a chair at your table or listen to caroling. Thank you for sharing your traditions with us. It is truly a joy to read.

    She Knits in Pearls

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    Replies
    1. Than you, darling!
      You don't need a holiday to pull a chair over - any day will do. :)

      Marija

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