For most people, the "holiday season' ends on New Years. But we aren't most people! Yesterday we ended our holiday season with our celebration of "Russian Christmas". You see, I am 100% Russian. And my family are [died hard] Russian Orthodox. All four of my grandparents were born and raised in the "old country" and emigrated to the US. I grew up in a world of two languages, although I never did learn a lot of Russian, and I attended a very old rite Russian Orthodox church. Unfortunately, I only got to know one of my grandparents, my mother's father. He was born in Lithuania. He was a roofer. He spoke fluent Russian and English. He had a beard. And he loved his religion more than almost anything.
The love of our religion was passed down to my mom who married another Russian Orthodox and continued the traditions with me and my sister. Our church follows the Julian calendar so our Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. Growing up, the 25th was always Santa Claus Christmas where we got all our gifts. On Russian Christmas, we celebrated the birth of Christ. We always got to take the day off school (whoo hoo!!), we dressed up, we visited with family, and we ended the day with a big dinner/party at my mom's.
We continue these traditions with our own kids. I didn't marry a Russian Orthodox, but we are raising our children in the faith. And I love being able to share the same traditions with own kids.
Yesterday, we traveled up to Erie to visit with my family, attend church, and EAT! Our dinners always consist of traditional Russian foods like kapusta soup (cabbage soup) and kolbasa (sausage), along with more traditional Christmas dinner fare such as turkey, ham and many deserts.
Our kids absolutely love Russian Christmas as much as Santa Christmas. Of course, who wouldn't love a day spent with cousins, family and food!!!!
And is there anything cuter than 3 little Russian girls ready for church??