Friday, August 19, 2011

Mittens, Transfiguration and kitten

A new cultural note: when we stepped outside this morning, our elderly neighbor, who loves Bogdan, took one look at him and said, "Where are his mittens?" I thought I was doing well to have socks, long sleeves and a hat on him, when the weather had just turned mildly breezy. (Mild, in my opinion. To others, it's probably a dangerously cold wind!) So, I just said, "Mittens?" He replied, "Yes, mittens. Today is Spas!" Well, I knew that today we celebrate the Transfiguration, but the only folk traditions I knew about that have to do with apples and grapes. Dedushka didn't explain any further, so we went on to visit our friend.

When we got to her apartment, I asked her how mittens and Spas are tied together. She didn't know. Her mother, however, told us a little saying right off: "Пришёл Спас — держи рукавички про запас!" (Spas is here, get your gloves ready!) And she explained that this is traditionally the time to get the mittens out and actually to get the whole winter wardrobe ready. So, I learned something new. Also, as I've noticed before, people here really do celebrate the holidays. In Russia, our neighbors often asked me to find out what the holiday was. Here they don't; everyone knows! I even saw one babushka coming back from the Orthodox church with her basket full of fruit.

I just threw "kitten" in up there so that I could write about Bogdan. (Or so that I could ask which of these it not like the others?) Bogdan has recently noticed that we have a cat, and he is utterly fascinated. The cat is actually finally starting to reconcile himself to the fact that we have a baby, too. Every time Bogdan sees Budya-Zhenya, his whole body goes stiff, starts quivering, and then he begins flapping and kicking. The night before last, I put Bogdan down where he could watch Zhenya. A minute later, Jaan said, "Mama, you know Zhenya could scratch him." I was going to explain that I had put him far away specifically to avoid that, when I looked up and saw that Bogdan had both hands full of kitty! He had scooted and rolled all the way down to him.


Baba Julie said...

Wow! What a story! I love it all!! Spas and mittens and "hands full of kitty"!! Yes, he's very fortunate that Zhenya did not scratch him!! Just ask Deborah Stephens what happened when she tried to pick up Zane to take him back downstairs!! Not good!! (But, I am glad that Bogdan is an animal lover like his Baba Julie!!) Love y'all!

Agape said...

Love it! Happy Feast Day!II learn something new too. You might enjoy this.