A celebration generally reminds us of the past, in that it gives life to the past. Childhood memories overwhelm us. The most pleasant memory of my childhood remains on Christmas Eve. I can still picture my mom all of sudden forgetting about her illness, and immediately getting us involved in the general cleaning of the house. Us girls remained in the house, stuck with washing windows, shaking blankets, mats, and whitewashing the walls. While the boys with our father were out cleaning, the yard and the barn. Mom was preparing dough for cakes, then spinning the stuffed cabbage leafs, and let the jello soup (my only logical explanation for racituri) to boil. In the evening, after the bath in the big tub, the mother dressed us in clothes which were disinfected by freezing therapy (we did not have washers or dryers; the clothes were hanged outside in the freezing weather). After that she told us to stay around the coal stove, from where we the kids were not allowed to get down until the mother cleaned the floors and placed the cloth mats.
Everything was ready, we served chicken soup and … I can still hear my father saying: „Children, quiet down, it seems that we have our first carolers …”
We also had a nice tradition of sharing our experiences from the previous Christmases. The boys remembered about the process of killing the pig. It always amused them to think of how they ran through the whole yard to exhaust that pig, and then how they rode the pigs back until the poor animal was out of breath; they also talked about how much they liked Shoric (pig skin which was boiled and then salted) it was a really good. The boys also talked about how much fun they had with their sledding on the snow slopes … We girls remembered how we weaved sponge cakes, so called „hulubaşi” (we liked to play a lot in the dough); we also talked about how we went caroling through the deep snow. We went from house to house singing the same carols and chanting the same verse. I knew two carols: „O what wonderful news” and „Silent Night” and the verse from Luke 2:9-10 „Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” We being kids were always excited to receive candy or some tasty baked goods, but those cases were really rare. Most of the time all we received was nuts, apples or the “hulubasi” which all of us were already annoyed of.
Our biggest desire and expectation at Christmas was snow. Presents weren’t really affordable for our big family, but snow was always something we could count on. If we didn’t grab snow by the Christmas day, I was sure that a miracle will happen during the Christmas night. I actually tried to keep myself awake until I could spot the first few flakes. I sat staring through the window to see whether it would start snowing. In the morning when we woke up the first thing we did was run back to the window to check if it snowed. What a joy, what an enthusiasm! It was just beautiful, a pure blessing.
It’s great to spend holidays with our families. As many have already said, family is our first church. I realized once again, that the holidays have been given to us so we can reflect, enjoy, and take a rest at the oasis of hope. Because Christmas is not about the tree, the food, the new clothes, or the festive programs.
Christmas means Good News,
It is our savior in flesh,
Peace and Good will between people,
The chance for a new beginning!
So, happy memories on this Christmas and a New fresh and full of blessings Year! 🙂