The cel­e­bra­tions con­tinue

Tri-County Vanguard - - Op-ed - Kristy Her­ron

The Christ­mas sea­son has passed for most of us, how­ever, one group of folks are just get­ting started.

Mon­day, Jan. 7 in Ortho­dox tra­di­tions is Christ­mas and the 14th is New Year’s. This is based on the Ju­lian cal­en­dar, which is on or near to Jan. 14 in the Gregorian cal­en­dar.

Ortho­dox New Year cel­e­bra­tions in­clude so­cial gath­er­ings and din­ners fea­tur­ing tra­di­tional ac­tiv­i­ties and dishes from other parts of the world such as Rus­sia, Ru­ma­nia or Ukraine. Based on the num­bers of ad­her­ents, the East­ern Ortho­dox Church is the sec­ond largest Chris­tian com­mu­nion in the world af­ter the Ro­man Catholic Church.

The most com­mon es­ti­mates of the num­ber of East­ern Ortho­dox Chris­tians world­wide is ap­prox­i­mately 200 to 260 mil­lion and just un­der seven per cent of the Cana­dian pop­u­la­tion. Although largely a cel­e­bra­tion in western prov­inces and western On­tario, we have a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of Nova Sco­tians who cel­e­brate these dates.

With the tur­moil in the Aus­troHun­gar­ian Empire prior to the First World War, many Ru­ma­ni­ans, Ukraini­ans and other east­ern Euro­peans fled the hard­ships and poverty in their home­lands, mi­grat­ing to Canada. Hence, at the end of the 19th cen­tury and the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tury, many groups from the for­mer Aus­tro-Hun­gar­ian Empire (Tran­syl­va­nia, Bukov­ina, Banat, Crisana and Mara­mures) mi­grated to the Prairie prov­inces of Canada to work as farm­ers. This was a pol­icy ini­tia­tive of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment that had promised to pop­u­late the West. The Do­min­ion Lands Act en­cour­aged home­stead­ers to come to the area. This was not an easy tran­si­tion as many found them­selves with land that was very dif­fi­cult to cul­ti­vate. The so called sec­ond wave of im­mi­gra­tion, just as chal­leng­ing, came af­ter the first war, with oth­ers to fol­low. Yet, they per­se­vered and flour­ished. Their beau­ti­ful tra­di­tions have blended into our won­der­ful Cana­dian mo­saic.

Like ev­ery cul­tural/eth­nic group there are tra­di­tions, mu­sic and spe­cial food prepa­ra­tions. Some of my Ru­ma­nian favourites are per­o­gies, sar­male or cab­bage rolls, rac­i­tura (a vari­a­tion of head cheese), nalysnyky (a deca­dent cheese mix­ture roles in crepes smoth­ers in heavy cream) are just some of the de­li­cious de­lights! No turkey, but fish and pork are the cen­ter of the meal. It is be­lieved if the New Year’s meal is rich and flavour­ful, the year ahead will be pros­per­ous and happy.

The Malanka (New Year’s Eve) cel­e­bra­tion in the early years of­ten in­cluded tra­di­tional dances and role plays where peo­ple wore masks that por­trayed an­i­mals. This was an op­por­tu­nity for the an­i­mals to be ac­knowl­edged and re­spected for their con­tri­bu­tions. One of my friends al­ways wanted to be a goat as did his older brother be­cause he could tease his lit­tle sis­ter as she was not fond of the fam­ily goats. She, how­ever, of­ten chose the horse so she could chase them.

Christ­mas and New Year’s cel­e­bra­tions are times for gath­er­ings, laugh­ter, mu­sic and joy. So per­haps if your neighbours still have their Christ­mas lights bright and vis­i­ble un­til the 15th or so it may be they are not just for­get­ful, but are liv­ing the en­tire sea­son!

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