anghara (anghara) wrote,

It's Christmas Eve

Heh. That got you.

But it is, really. The Orthodox church uses the *old* calendar, and that means everything is offset - and I am nominally Orthodox, having been baptised in an Orthodox cathedral, and therefore it's Christmas all over again for me tomorrow morning.

No, I don't get two sets of presents. But it's kind of nice. I have a kind of general present-opening Christmas morning on the same day as everybody else gets to tear the wrapping paper off their parcels, and then I have a quieter, less loud, more spiritual if you like version of it two weeks later.

There are traditions. Of course there are. BUt many of them have long been left behind as the younger generations left the land to go to the cities and taking straw into the house on Christmas Day, for instance, to recall the stable in which the Christ CHild was born, is not really practical any more. The thing we still do, when we can find the phyllo pastry, is make a special Christmas delicacy (I'll post the recipe if anyone is interested) and the tradition used to be that a special "family treasure" gold coin used to be tossed into it somewhere over the cook's shoulder and then covered with another layer of pastry and whoever found it on Christmas Day would have it ransomed by the head of the household, bought back as it were to stay in the family for next year's offering. Now it's just a coin, any coin. WHo's got gold coins to toss into cakes these days...? The kids used to compete to eat as many pieces of this cake as they could, but it is rich and sweet and you couldn't eat too many at a sitting because otherwise you'd just make yourself sick. SO you had to be judicious and canny in choosing your pieces. Of course, there were the family tales of woe and disaster, like the time my cousin's then-boyfriend took a bite of the cake and then sat there with bulging eyes until her could finally get the words out: "I SWALLOWED IT!" (Which would have been a catastrophe with the heirloom coin but under the circumstances it only resulted in much giggling and a deathless story to tell and retell for years after the boyfriend in question was history.) Or the time that an aunt bit into the cake and chipped a tooth on the coin which was just strategically enough placed to cause maximum damage.

I'm not making it this year, I don't have the pastry on hand, but maybe next year I will again. It's fun.

And merry Christmas, once more with feeling.

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