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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…!

S’Rozhdyestvom Khristovim!

foggysnowWalking through the forest, the trees appear bluish-silver-grey, punctuated by peeling birch bark white-with-flecks-of-black in the dark of a cloudy, snowy night. Lights from the dacha at last can be glimpsed as we arrive back from caroling at our neighbors’. The snow crunches beneath our feet. We are birchdressed in traditional clothes, kokoshniks and all, bundled up in warm dachacoats and ready for Russian Christmas Eve.

The worn-and-burnished wooden table spreads before us, laden with pine branches and hay, a white pillar candle taking center stage. The Light of the world!

Twelve dishes will be thrust upon us— borsch, mushrooms, holy suppernew potatoes with petrushka (parsley), a roast chicken, various pickled vegetables, blini, berries cooked a variety of ways, rolls, honey, tea…. There’s no getting away from course after course and nobody seems to mind being stuffed like kolbasa. The fire snaps and crackles in the pechka, creating a warm, cozy, mesmerizing atmosphere. Hearts are happy, the dogs curl underneath the table.

The male voice among us states with authority, opening the meal: “Khristos Razhdayetsya!” (Christ is born!)

russianWe respond in unison, transfixed, “Praslavtyeh Yevo!” (Praise Him!)

The faces around the table are lit with the shining of the candle and smaller, flickering votives off to the side. The fragrance and warmth surround us as though we are in our own, sweet manger. This is a special time, a holy time, rejoicing in the light as cold and darkness linger in the forest beyond.

S’Rozhdyestvom Khristovim!


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