Saturday, January 7, 2012

Carpathian Christmas or the Post of pink snowy boogers.

Am I getting old? Looking through pics from Christmas trips of previous years desperately dreaming of being in the mountains now.
My small decorated room in the country house
Yes, it's a bit hard for me there due to absence of running water in our house and eternal explanations of why I don't drink alcohol. But still celebrations there have a mood and true taste, while those in Kyiv are more like cookies with artificial cinnamon flavor.

The following pics are from different years, the latest ones are from 2010. Most of the kids are teens now, little boys are even taller than me and girls have mad makeup skills even I often envy. :D
Can you spot my house? ;)
As I've already mentioned in the previous post, the traditional celebrations start from a prayer and dinner. It's preparation is also great fun - partly because of curious superstitions.
Seeds have been grinded here - mum proves.
Poppy seeds are an essential ingredient of the main dish. But you shouldn't call them poppy seeds on Christmas Eve - otherwise you're believed to get lice soon. :D Instead you'd better name that "grains".

Same with female chicken - these should only be called "molodychky" that means "married young women" in Ukrainian. If you use the real name, birds of prey will be stealing baby chickens in the following year.

Grinding the seeds is a typically guys' work since it requires physical strength - nevertheless, my aunt succeeded in it in 2010:
Coming back to superstitions...  If a girl was the 1st person who entered your house on Christmas - she was believed to have brought bad luck. That's why women and little girls always had to stay in, while boys were encouraged to visit houses. My mum says that she hated it when was a kid - her older brother was let everywhere, and she was kept home.
Stylish aunt ready for holidays: matching traditional Ukrainian embroidery with jeans. That's always a win. =)
Guys having fun: Grandpa, cousin Illya and Dad ^__^
Daddy pulling a Christmas tree for our home. But we put it outside - the house is literally tiny.
A few more mood pics come next. The kids have grown up by now, and truly snowy winters are rare. This year there is  some snow, but not enough for sliding down the mountain just on your ass. Right, we did it. As well as using an old bath as a sledge. Dangerous - because it hits you on the head as soon as there's a stone undrneath the snow.
My neighbors with their awesome Christmas tree
My nephew Roma guarding varenyky - another traditional Ukrainian dish. Now this toddler is a successful schoolboy, mommy's helper and a laptop user. :))
Uncle and cousin we used to call "little Ivan"
"Little Ivan" is now a handsome young man - I even have to look up when talking to him. Inclusind when I'm wearing the gothiest platforms.
After the dinner is over, prepare money and candy - kids will come soon to sing carols and get treats. Modern children are so modern - sometimes there are small queues to houses where people pay more. LOL

Older ones are usually not willing to take younger kids with them - but of course it's the event of the year for the latter to be let go with the older ones.
2006, our nearest neighbors are here! Dima and his younger sister Natalka.
Once we finished dinner, but no kids came. 20 minutes have passed - no one was there. 30 minutes, an hour, an hour and a half - still no bell ringing and laughs near our window were heard. We decided to go to sleep. As soon as dad took his trousers off to change - the bell rang near at the window of my room. :D Now it's one of our most popular family jokes: "Take the trousers off, no one's at the window!"

Grown-ups start visiting friends and relatives a bit later. They also sing carols near the window where there's a candle to mark the room where everyone's hanging out.
Aunts and uncle are here
Cousins and another uncle. More and more people are gathering in our home. The kids' party is in my room, the grown-ups are in mum's and dad's part of the house.
Uncle and me in 2006. I used to be a blonde sometimes-goth loved girlfriend back then... T_T

Day 2 is when the grown-ups gather and go carol-singing. They're also rewarded, but for a different purpose: the money goes to the local church.

There's an order of being the main one in this group. It's defined easily: by the order of houses in the village. One year it was our turn, but since we don't live there and simply don't have space to accept over 30 people in our house, we only heard a special carol over the telephone. That year we also couldn't go because of work. :(

Hosting the carol-singing adults is great responsibility that requires a lot of cooking, house-cleaning, decorating and table serving. After the long carol with lots of nice wishes is sang in the household, the guests are invited to the house for a holiday dinner.

A special carol with different wishes is performed already at the table if the family has a son or daughter who is not married. In 2010 both cousin Illya and I were there, so our neighbors sang two carols - for each of us. As it's being performed, the honored son or daughter is being thrown to the ceiling. These are not very high in our home, so I feared turning into a fly that has been smashed on a wall. :D

After singing and physical exercise is over, the one it's been dedicated to drinks some wine from the bell. Forgot to mention that this bell is kept in the church and is held by the main person in the "carols team" for Christmas. I found a video where the carol's just been sung to me and I got a full bell of wine to drink:

It's easy to get drunk during these celebrations - imagine going from one house to another, singing carols and having dinner at each - of course drinks are served everywhere. These people visit about... I think more than 20 houses each time. As many as there are in the street. Some people are a disaster by the end. I feel sorry for them in the morning. LOL

Kids are not bored on day 2. They go on visiting neighbors and relatives singing a different type of carols while being dressed up. This part belongs entirely to boys.
Neighbor Dima showing off his traditional attire for this tradition. he was the 1st one to come to my house on day 2 in 2006.
Cousin Andriy with his friends came over from another part of the village
2006, little nephew Roma thinks: "One day I'll be old enough to be like them..." ;)
I usually stay in Yaremche for the whole holiday season and spend the rest of the days visiting relatives and friends. And getting fat of course. And sliding down mountains on my ass. :D To finish the post with a funny thing I'll post a photo of my friend's son I took in 2010.

This little boy stopped absolutely ANY business he was doing when there was a political ad of one of the candidates on TV. He ran to the screen and stood there being enchanted either by the voice or something else. While the grown-ups were dying of laughter, and the gothiest one even dropped a cup of hot coffee on her jeans. ^__^

1 comment:

  1. Wow! interesting, funny and amazing.. I can see why you wanted to be in the mountains!