Russian Christmas Eve begins tonight on January 6th, with the actual holiday on January 7th. Orthodox Christians celebrate this date as the birth of Jesus due to a difference in the Gregorian and Julian calendars. So Russians sing carols house to house, enjoy a meal of 12 different dishes and attend church.
In our family, we celebrate similarly, with a tall white candle in the middle of the table, hay or straw surrounding it. Well, let’s make that raffia, for now. Our manger animal reps, the two beloved Scotties, nestle near our feet. We say a prayer in Russian, declaring the Resurrection of Jesus, once born in a manger, Savior, Messiah.
A surprise snow moves through the area and the wonder of it helps to clear my mind from the struggles of the past week. We set aside the issues with our oldest daughter who has been on the outs with all of us, starting the new year on a sour note.
Today, all is new.
The mushroom soup arrives, the potatoes and parsley, the wheat berry kutya with dried fruits. Everyone relaxes. The pirozhki, the pickles, the pelemeni, the fish. We have small tastes of each on this mostly-meatless night.