St. Nicholas Day
December 19th in Russia and Ukraine is St. Nicholas Day – maybe in other European countries as well, but I am not there – so chime in if you are and want to let me know ! We don't have snow in town for the day, but we did have it two weeks ago. The town Tree in the Center was celebrated and lit off tonite; as well as the 'Holiday Village' where the kitsche of Western Elves and Santa meet Ded Moroz.
The evening was kicked off with carols – the tunes are nearly the same – but the words are in Ukrainian – and I will be damned if there is enough Horlika for me to get my American Tongue around them. So much of the evening was the American catarwayling the English versions.... trust me – it was not a pretty sight, I can't carry a tune if it had a handle and roller wheels like air-line luggage. But I have really gracious hosts. The decorations here are a bit different too - the Tree is not usually a big one. Table top and mid-chest ones are really the most common.
The night is all about the kids. Little mandarin oranges, nuts, chocolates and toy trinkets are put into socks and up under the pillow of the sleeping kids. The socks are real here, they are functional – because cold winter requires WARM socks. I helped to stuff the things in the tubes with a few of the moms that I know. Good times..... well really – not because of the holiday cheer for the kids.... but for the appearance of Snejgorichka !
(My friend Vikki from Odessa - she sends me the most tortuously cute e-mails) She is the grand-daughter of Ded Moroz (Father Frost) – and helps him to deliver presents on St Nicholas Day, Christian Christmas, New Years, Orthodox Christmas.... and sometimes makes an appearance all they way to 'Olde New Year' on January 13. She gets quite the work out..... ooof – I love this time of season.
And to all a Good Night