All Things Russian: Stories, Culture, and Food
Somewhere around the end of September of 2013 Julia visited “Life in Russia” and I asked her to write a post that she felt reflected “Life in Russia”, when I read it I knew it had to wait for the right season. That season is here! Thanksgiving has been celebrated in the States and everyone is in a joyful spirit, it time to start preparing for Christmas. I thought this holiday season it would be fun to read the wonderful story that Julia shares about her early life in Russia. She is a writer and published author. Currently she’s is writing and blogging from the United States, her most recent novel –“Struggling to Survive: A story of love, crime, and deception in the new Russia is a must read . It’s wonderful that she has blessed us with her post with us here at “Life in Russia” I want to thank her for sharing. I hope you take the time to visit her blog: All Things Russian: Stories, Culture, and Food.
Celebrating Christmas with Julia
What story does your Christmas tree tell? Do you have ornaments you bought while visiting a foreign country? Hand-made decorations your kids made years ago? Ornaments given to you by friends and relatives? The tree in my parents’ Moscow apartment tells the story of our family as it changed with the changes in Russia.
One of the oldest ornaments, a German-made glass angel covered with a beaded net, comes from my paternal grandmother’s childhood. It is. In the early 20th century, most Christmas ornaments in Russia were imported, mainly from Germany. Many, but not all, ornaments had Christian themes. Two other ornaments on our family tree are pagan symbols typical of early 20th century Russia: a cotton sun and a paper-mâché rooster. The mix of Christian and pre-Christian symbols is a reminder of the “double faith” period in Russia when the Russian peasants, while declaring a Christian faith and attending churches, also practiced pagan rites and believed in pagan superstitions. Then again, anyone who has lived through at least one cold and dreary Russian winter would understand the Russian obsession with the sun and warmth during long December nights.