Monday, January 02, 2012

Holiday rundown

I started writing about school, as per Misty's suggestion, but it's easier and faster to tell you about the holiday season here, so Baba Julie's request will come first.

In general Russian culture the big winter holiday is the New Year. (Yes, we're in Ukraine, but this part of Ukraine is pretty much Russian culturally. I think they do things quite differently in the West, where they speak Ukrainian.) The tree and decorations, presents and the Santa Claus-ish figure are all tied in with that, not with Christmas.

Christmas is really just a quiet church holiday that the general public doesn't even celebrate. And when it is celebrated, that's more on January 7th, not December 25th.

For us, Christmas is a huge, big deal! Also, because December 25th fell on a Sunday this year, it was a really special day. I've already written about that. The churches that we've been involved in, kind of start celebrating then, and they also celebrate on January 7th.

The next big holiday is seeing in the New Year. That's the biggest holiday of the year, and this year the youth decided to celebrate at home with their families. Plus, everyone was just too tired, after having organized the Christmas tea and with still working on more plans for "Second Christmas."

Then we have a very local holiday on January 1: Taras' birthday. That was duly celebrated last night at church:

Then the next big day coming up is "Second Christmas." This year we'll be having a children's program for everyone to invite their grandchildren, friends and neighbors to on that day. Again, the youth are preparing all of this. Also, the older people in the church insisted--kind of last minute--that there has to be a Christmas service actually on Christmas day, too. (The plan had been just to have the Christmas service the next day, on the 8th.) So, there will be a church service 10:00-12:00 on the 7th, and then the children's program starting at 12:00. Of course, church the next day, too. Pray for endurance!

On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day we usually go caroling, according to Ukrainian tradition, at least around the city to the babushki who are shut in, and often in the surrounding villages, too.

That pretty much wraps up the holiday season. There's also the Old New Year on January 14, and we're likely to have kids ringing our doorbell at midnight on the eve of that. It's not really a big event, though. Schools, including Jaan's music school and our homeschool, will be back in session right after Second Christmas, on that Tuesday, I think.

(I just looked at my title again. I meant the first dictionary definition of "rundown," i.e. "an analysis or summary of something." However, we can feel pretty rundown by the end of the holidays, so please keep up in your prayers. It sure is a wonderful time of year, though!)


Mom said...

I've read it twice--so you can know I appreciate the rundown. With love and prayers...

Baba Julie said...

Thanks, Phyllis! I think it helps us all to know how to pray more specifically! Love to each one!

Name: Misty said...

Our Christmas season is much simpler here, and I was rundown on the 26th. I think next year we'll do less for Advent at the beginning, so that I will still have the stamina to enjoy the week from the 25th to at least the 2nd. :)

Praying for you.

Phyllis said...

I forgot the daily prayer meetings for every morning of the first week of 2012! Will has to lead and be at some of those. Not every day, though.