Thursday, January 6, 2011

Kutya For a Julian Christmas.

While the Russkies are lazying around airports, they are missing their Christmas at home, because they are a day ahead in Russia and it's Friday already out there.

After the 1917 revolution, Russia lost her Christmas holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus but the people kept the holiday alive hidden under the guise of Ded Moroz or Father Frost with a red nose.

To this day Kutya is one of their important dishes to make since meat is not allowed, if you follow tradition.

Kutya symbolizes hope happiness and peace and is served at the Holy Supper before church service.
This is when they cover the table with a white table cloth, to represent Christ's swaddling clothes.
They put a few pieces of hay stocks to represent poverty.

Pagach or lenten bread is made to represent Christ as the bread of life.

A white candle is lit and represents the light of the world.

A prayer is then said with each family member being crossed with a cross of wet honey, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, for sweetness to last in their life.

Then pieces of bread, is dipped into honey and chopped garlic to represent life as being both sweet and bitter.

Then they would sit and eat.

Kutya would be thrown up onto the ceiling and if it stuck, then this meant they would have a year of plenty. It was a custom to eat Kutya from the same bowl to represent unity between family and friends.

The Holy Supper consists mainly of 12 dishes representing the 12 disciples.

Usually you find mushroom soup, pagach bread, grated garlic, a bowl of honey, baked cod,
(apricots, oranges figs and dates), nuts, kidney beans with shredded potatoes seasoned with garlic,salt and pepper, peas,
parsley potatoes and biscuits with sauerkraut or poppy seed with honey to be completed with red wine.

Then carolers walked from house to house singing songs.

Santa is known as St Nicholas. He is said to come from Myra of Lycia, which was a Greco Roman city. Since he was also outlawed, Father Frost replaced him. He was the spirit of winter who traveled with a snow maiden and they gave out gifts.

Since the Christmas tree was also banned, they still put up a tree for new years, decorated in fruit.

Our Christmas comes earlier because we follow the Gregorian Calendar and they, in Russia, follow the Julian calendar, which is 13 days later, on Jan 6 th.

This makes it hard when trying to figure out birthdays. lol

Kutya is a very healthy dish especially for children. It's sorta like a porridge made out of wheat berries, poppy seeds, honey, sugar, and walnuts.

I tasted it once and it was delicious!!!
Definitely worth trying to make.

Merry Christmas Russia!!!
Congrats on the Gold in Hockey!!



Jen said...

I love reading about other countries' holiday customs. Thanks for posting.

A Lady's Life said...

Welcome Jen!

George said...

Thanks for sharing this about the Orthodox Christmas traditions. The Kutya sounds delicious.

A Lady's Life said...

Welcome George :)

Baron's Life said...

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

A Lady's Life said...

Baron Thanks and to yours as well :)