Two Christmases and the New Year

Living in Kuterevo, it is possible to have two Christmases instead of just one, because of the differences between the Julian and the Gregorian calendar.

On the 24th of December – Christmas Eve – we attended the church mass in the church in Kuterevo at 23:00. After the mass all the villagers greeted each other and wished each other a merry Christmas, and the traditional dance group KUD had a pleasant performance. For the Christmas day 25th of December we baked hundreds of cookies and visited many of our friends and neighbors in the village. People were happy we visited them, were very hospitable, we learned a lot about Christmas traditions and many other things. When all of them were visited, we had a nice common Christmas dinner in Postaja with vegetarian sarma, cakes and cookies. At the end of the evening we exchanged greeting cards we had made for each other. The designs of the cards were incredibly beautiful and creative; things we wrote to each other were so honest and nice! I believe this could become a Postaja Christmas tradition for the next volunteer generations 🙂

In between the two Christmases there was some year change happening. The New Year’s Eve was internationally special—we visited Jamaica with Bob Marley’s documentary, celebrated Russian New Year at 21:00 Croatian time, burned our wishes and drank them with some sparkling wine, and after the clock hit twelve it was time for the famous Spanish tradition — eating 12 grapes in a minute. That was quite wild, but… what happens in Postaja stays in Postaja! We also visited family Bukovac in the village, where everybody danced, laughed and joyfully greeted the New Year.

When the New Year was welcomed and a new calendar in Postaja made, we were ready for the second Christmas. On 6th of January we went to the Orthodox Church in Vrhovine for a liturgy of the Christmas Eve. We greeted everyone with the official greeting “Hristos se rodi!” (“Christ is born!”). Volunteers were impressed by the speech of the priest; they enjoyed burning badnjak (dried leaves of an oak tree) and the hot wine that was offered in the church.

During both Christmases, we were welcomed very warmly by people, no matter what their and our religion and traditions are.

All the best wishes in the New Year 2013 from us— volunteers, bears, dogs, cats, chickens, ducks and geese!

Kristine

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