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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Russian Christmas 2018

IMG_4759Russian Christmas, is celebrated each year on January 7th, and particularly the night before— Sochevnik— Christmas Eve. We are not Orthodox, so a lot of the fasting and other details are not foremost in our celebrations. Still, it’s a nod in the direction of Mother Russia.

We gather around a tall, white pillar candle — Jesus the light of the world! The white tablecloth reminds us of His swaddling clothes. The hay on the table (we sometimes round up some raffia in our urban setting!) speaks of the stable. Our Scotties under foot point to the manger animals.

A real story. A real event. A real savior.

Light in the midst of darkness.

The father states in Russian: “Christ is born!”

We respond: “Glorify Him!”IMG_4757

As the mother of the family, I place honey on each family member’s forehead and pray for a year of sweetness and blessing. Russian or not, this is something that more families should do… kids need a blessing and prayer, now more than ever! But I digress….

We start our 12 foods with kutya, boiled and baked wheat berries (check the health food store if not the IMG_4758local Russian grocery) with honey and nuts, a type of thick pudding.

Then comes the soup, could be vegetarian bosh (due to meat prohibitions during this semi-fast), we go with mushroom soup, since all Russians love to forage in the forest and gather the fantastic fungi….

Pickled foods, particularly vegetables of any kind…. Potatoes with parsley… some eschew butter as part of the fast, but really, potatoes with no butter? Poppyseed rolls (bobalki) often mixed with garlic and honey to remind of sweetness in the midst of sorrow….

A fish dish…. I still recall creating a showpiece kulebiaka as a young bride, the salmon encrustedIMG_4755 in dough with chopped eggs, dill and rice. Again, not everyone eats eggs this season, so you need to know your fellow-diners and their particulars. I baked this for others, since some of the flavors were not my cup of tea.

Speaking of which, yes, have hot tea, Russian spiced tea with jams, honey or cinnamon, steaming straight from the samovar-!

IMG_4756Load up on the veggies and grains (kasha) and piroshki stuffed with cabbage, egg, mushrooms, onions or potatoes. Yum.

The good news is, there’s something for everyone at Russian Christmas. Sort of like the Lord — He’s for everyone.

S’Rozhdyestvom Xristovim!

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