Living in majorly Catholic country means celebrating Christmas on the 25th of December, not the 7th of January as it was in the Orthodox world for me for 22 years. I am really looking forward Xmas celebration! Presents are wrapped! Dress is ironed! Bags are almost packed! Ready for the road trip! WOOP! WOOP! Yes, this year just like last year I off to the country to join my boyfriend’s family.
So decided to wish you guys MERRY CHRISTMAS especially if you are celebrating it in December! 🙂 I am hoping to organize a small Russian Xmas celebration in January; however not holding my breath much. I would love to make a trip down to the Russian shop on Bondi and get some traditional dishes for the event (no way I will be cooking sorry :)) and maybe even invite couple of Russians over, get some vodka running, chatting about life in Australia. I have never been a big fan of Russia hence haven’t had the Xmas I am used for 5 years now. Today I am feeling like bringing it back for half a day or so 🙂
As a part of Xmas celebration and anticipation of New Year I like to highlight the old year. In Russia, we also celebration Old New Year to actually say goodbye to the old year. Well, I want to do it today! Before I do that, I want to explain why Russian Xmas is in January. I keep being asked that questions every year so I feel like finally getting a proper answer. Well, the reason is that the Russian Orthodox Church still lives according to the old Julian Calendar, which is currently 13 days behind the Gregorian Calendar, which is adopted by most countries in the world (and by the Russian government). When in the end of 1917 the Bolshevik government decided to adopt Gregorian calendar, the Russian Orthodox church decided not to follow the rules set by the increasingly oppressive civil authorities. Part of the reason was to protest against the Bolsheviks and their interference in church affairs. Another reason, perhaps, was to stick to the older rules, the ways in which generations of Russian Christians were praising the Lord, observing holidays, etc. As a result, The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates religious holidays according to the Julian calendar. Russia uses the Gregorian calendar though for secular purposes since 1918.
Not only Xmas is very different in Russia (basically a religious holiday), Russian New Year is accompanied by Grandfather the Frost (Ded Moroz), not Santa. Depictions of Ded Moroz commonly show with Snegurochka (Snow Maiden), his granddaughter and helper, who is often depicted in long silver-blue robes and a furry cap or a snowflake-like crown She is a unique attribute of Ded Moroz; no traditional gift-givers from other cultures are portrayed with a female companion,, though the German analog Sankt Nikolaus comes with a Krampus.
The original Russian gift-giver was Saint Nicholas, the country’s Patron Saint, whose Feast Day is celebrated on December 6th. The image of Saint Nicholas originates from the image of another hero – the ancient Morozko. In Russian folklore Morozko is a powerful hero and smith who chains water with his “iron” frosts. Morozko was not hostile to people – he helped them and presented them with awesome presents.
Therefore Santa has always been an American character for me depriving from Hollywood movies. It has slightly changed now as I’ve embraced previously strange for me tradition. I am not hoping for both old bearded to climb down my chimney leaving me presents under my tree (giggling)!
As a highlight of my year… well it was as hard as many others before it. I had an awesome job (before the business’s core manager left) this year, carried on with my business studies, haven’t achieved much in fitness (in my opinion) but got into, new for me, obstacle racing and trail running (I am hoping to carry on with next year). I “survived” a year since I moved in with my boyfriend. I bought my first car. I finally took my partner to Russia to meet my family. I went up and down with my feelings and life perception. I lost old friends and gained new ones. I stopped caring much about what people say or think. I cut down heaps on all my bad habits. I learnt how to sleep well. I learnt how to control my inner Child (sometimes). I failed to teach my inner Parent though (giggling). I gained a good professional experience and finally became a writer. Overall, it was a happy year! It was finally a quite year with less drama and more fun!
I am not making any resolutions or wishes this year. All I want really is more good news, health and happiness! MERRY XMAS EVERYONE!!!!