Monday, January 7, 2008

Mir Bojzi

Mir Bojzi!!!
Merry Christmas!!!

Today, my mother's side of the family celebrates Christmas in the Serbian Orthodox Church. My family is about 4 hours away from us in McKeesport, Pa and this year we won't be able to make the trip. I'm a little sad about that, but am hopeful that next year we will be able to go.
I am not an expert on the Serbian Orthodox religion, but here I will attempt to put down in words my understanding and experiences of this blessed event.
Orthodox Christmas is celebrated according to the Julian calendar on January 7. It starts on January 6, Christmas Eve, with a yule log burning ceremony. During the procession, walnuts and coins are scattered on the ground for children to pick up. The badnjak, or yule log, is from a young oak tree representing the Christ Child. The log is sprinkled with red wine representing Christ's blood and burned representing his crucifixion. The smoke rising reminds us of Jesus' ressurection.
On Christmas Day, the family gathers. There is a fire burning in the fireplace and a table spread with many meat dishes because this is the end of a 6 week fast from meat. The main dish is lamb. Under the table is straw representing the manger and on the table is wheat growing in a vase representing Christ, the bread of life.
My daughters' favorite part of the meal is the Chesnica, or Christmas Bread. This is a mildly sweet, yeast bread with a coin baked inside. Whoever gets the coin will have good luck for the upcoming year.
This celebration is dear to me and I am glad that I am able to share it with my children. Last year, my 9yo dd made a notebook and my 8yo dd made a lapbook on this event. This year, we will take them out and look through them and be with our family in McKeesport in spirit.

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