Sveti Nikola~ Saints on Sunday

Taken directly from Wikipedia….He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his feast day―St Nicholas Day (6 December, Gregorian calendar, in Western Christianity and 19 December, Julian calendar, in Eastern Christianity) ;[7] and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of “Saint Nikolaos”. (End copy paste from Wiki.

It is celebrated twice a year. All of them maybe. I am unsure.In December this is a fasting slava. It is also celebrated in May. This is not a fasting slava. Much better food is served in my opinion. 🙂

This is our patron saint. Every family has one in Serbia. When it is your Saints day, it is the custom in Serbia and only Serbia, that you have a dinner and invite your friends.  They come at an appointed time. Most likely that you will be serving loads of people over two or three days.

I love this Saint and how he became one. Everyone should strive to be a secret giver.  Random or non-random acts of kindness are a great way to make life better. Giving is so much better than receiving.

Happy Sunday!

Dobar Dan Y’all!

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Serbian Christmas Past

January seventh was Orthodox Christmas. I was surprised when I took a walk that so many businesses were open. The cafes were doing a good business. But I guess it makes sense. Lots of people are in town catching up with each other.

Our little town was filled with cars from out of town. You can tell by the license plates. Our town has the letters NI. If you are from Belgrade (actually, Beograd) the tags start with BG, and so on. That way you know where a car is from and it is easier to cops to spot an “out of towner” to ticket.  What an internationally common characteristic.

Back to the subject of Christmas. The town was a bustle of people shopping and greeting on another. The feeling of Christmas is truly in the air. People are smiling easily and ready to help you. The lines in the stores are unlike any I have seen before.

Baba out did herself as usual with all her baking. She is an extraordinary cook! Here are a few pics I took out and about on Christmas eve and Christmas day.

 

The table is set for Christmas eve dinner.

Dusk in Ktown

traditional music being played outside the Church while the Christmas eve service is taking place inside.

Lighting a candle for the living.

Christmas decor and good luck charms for the Christmas and the new year.

Snow and ice does not deter avid bikers.

We still have Serbian New Year to celebrate next week!! The holiday season continues!!

 

Saints on Sunday~ Saint George

Once upon a time there was a blogger in the Serbian realm who I anticipated reading. The Real Housewife of Belgrade was a great story-teller. Funny and informative, and everyone loved her. I am sure they still do, but she has exited the great land of Serbia.

Her Sunday legacy was to write about  Churches she visited in her European travels. There were lots of Church on Sunday posts. And I loved that idea. I have done a few of them myself. But I wanted to use the idea and make it my own. I always felt a bit like a poor knock off.

Here’s the deal. I am Protestant.I miss going to church on Sunday.  And the Orthodox Christianity has the same God, but many different traditions. The church is freezing cold in the winter. I cannot understand anything. (The service are held in old Serbian. About 10% of the population of Serbia may understand.) so I don’t go.

FYI It is an old tradition like Catholics holding some of their Masses in Latin… All Masses were in Latin before the 1960’s. Thank God things have changed in the Catholic Church so people can hear the Gospel. I have no proof, but more people may attend if they could understand. That is just my Western brain thinking.

Since arriving here, learning about Slavas (dinners) and patron Saints of  families, I have wanted to learn more about the Saints. It is a new Christian education. I know the Bible fairly well. I went to a Christian college and even studied Hebrew for a better understanding. But the saints heralded  here are not in the Bible.

Enter my epiphany and self-education with Saints on Sunday posts!

We will begin with St. George. Why? Because I like that there is a dragon in the picture of this saint! I love dragons, but since I am a Game of Thrones fan, I can see how unwieldy they can be. Thus, slaying them was a must. 😦

 

Here is the story of St. George as per Wikipedia.  Yes, I did Copy/Paste!  😛

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_George_and_the_Dragon

According to the Golden Legend, the narrative episode of Saint George and the Dragon took place somewhere he called “Silene”, in Libya; the Golden Legend is the first to place this story in Libya as a sufficiently exotic locale, where a dragon might be found. In the tenth-century Georgian narrative, the place is the fictional city of Lasia, and the idolatrous emperor who rules the city is called Selinus.[8]

The town had a pond, as large as a lake, where a plague-bearing dragon dwelt that poisoned all the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene used to feed it two sheep every day, and when the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery. It happened that the lot fell on the king’s daughter, who is called Sabra in some versions of the story.[9] The king, distraught with grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon.[8]

Saint-George by chance rode past the lake. The princess, trembling, sought to send him away, but George vowed to remain. The dragon reared out of the lake while they were conversing. Saint George fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross,[10] charged it on horseback with his lance, and gave it a grievous wound. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon’s neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash.[citation needed]

The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the people at its approach. But Saint George called out to them, saying that if they consented to become Christians and be baptised, he would slay the dragon before them. The king and the people of Silene converted to Christianity, George slew the dragon, and the body was carted out of the city on four ox-carts. “Fifteen thousand men baptized, without women and children.” On the site where the dragon died, the king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George, and from its altar a spring arose whose waters cured all disease.[11]

Traditionally, the sword[12] with which St. George slew the dragon was called Ascalon, a name recalling the city of Ashkelon, Israel. From this tradition, the name Ascalon was used by Winston Churchill for his personal aircraft during World War II (records at Bletchley Park), since St. George is the Patron Saint of England.

There is more to read on the Wiki site if you are interested. But I thought that would be sufficient!

I thought it was a decent story. Someday I will tell it to the Munchkin!

Happy Sunday Y’all!

Elementary School Easter Fair

Srecan Uskrs or Happy Easter Cards

I love kid made cards. They have so much more feeling and character.

 

This year Orthodox Easter and Protestant Easter are on the same Sunday.

There were a bunch of fun Easter goodies crafted by the children. Lots of sweet treats being sold, and some really cool art!

The atrium in the center of the school was pumping with techno beats. Body heat and radiators filled the room to excess. Children’s cheeks were flushed. The place was a mad house. Pack to the gills! I hope they did well!

I think this was my favorite craft of all… maybe tied with this one below.

What great imaginations, Thinking outside the box to create unique art! Brilliant!

Tolstoy Ties

During our road trip to Krusevac we make a quick stop to a gorgeous monastery. Sveti Roman is nestled in a clove of hills and has the most refreshing spring  just outside the gates. Down in the gully where the spring becomes a stream, it is cooler. The fallen leaves everywhere create the distinct smell of fall.

A quick walk up the hill and through the beautiful gate…

This is the final resting place of Count Nikolaj Nikolajevic Rajevski.

He was one of the many Russians who left his homeland to come and aid the Serbs in their fight against Turkish occupation in Serbia  in solidarity of Slavic brotherhood and Orthodoxy. . He was also allegedly  the basis for Ana Karenina’s lover, Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky .

I cannot think of a more beautiful or peaceful place to rest. The monastery grounds are immaculately kept.

The mosaic walkway is done completely in stone washed soft and round by water, collected over time and placed just so to created the most amazing designs.

Learning about the History here is NEVER short of amazing. I hope you enjoy hearing about it too.

Dobar dan (Good Day) Y’all!

Holy Cross Day

The Church bells are ringing. Such ear candy. They don’t ring enough here and when I get to hear them, I revel in the sound. Today is an Orthodox holiday. One you are supposed to fast for.. When I looked at the Serbian Orthodox calendar for holidays, this one is highlighted as a STRICT Fasting day. Fasting here is not not eating, it is eating no animal products. Beans are the staple food, breads, and fish add to the meals. It is not as if people don’t eat, but they eat blander foods. Farting after is obligatory!

My mother-law made beans yesterday with no pork fat in preparation for today. I really can’t stand these beans with out pork fat and meat, and even sometimes with it. Other times, I could eat a ton of them with the right pork fat and meat. I think it is the cut of the meat that makes the difference.

She gave us a jar of the said beans as we were leaving and reminded me that “tomorrow is a fasting day”. Even though she knows I am Protestant. I don’t mind fasting so much, as long as there is diversification in food. There isn’t in my Serbian family, Ever!

Thank God I have an Orthodox friend in the U.S. who gave me great ideas for a virtual smorgasboard of possible posna hrana (fasting food).  But because I am in Serbia, most of them aren’t an option much to my regret! (YUM YUM Indian food!) Pasta is the one thing that I can make and probably will. I will dice up some fresh tomatoes and saute them with some garlic and drape it over the pasta. YUM!

With joy, I conclude that tomorrow will not be the traditional “Pass Gas” holiday in our house! Good thing, because it is already the internationally celebrated holiday of my BIRTHDAY! Holla!  And I already got the best gift! A Kiva loan donated in my name! How awesome is that!

Holy Cross day is a celebration of finding the Cross and the miracles that are to have been procured as a result. I would much rather celebrate the miracle of the work done on the cross when Christ gave his life for us. That is what today will be for me… It is like a second Easter. 🙂 With Pasta!

Photography Friday Paralia, Greece

The little seas side town of Paralia, Greece was a pleasure to visit. Cafes lined the beach and sidewalks. Touristy shops selling trinkets and clothes were plentiful. But the most eye catching thing I saw was this car!

The exterior was less decadent than the interior.

Hello excess!

I think one might need a bath or cleansing ritual to ride in that bling mobile!

A less assuming vehicle with more curb appeal in my opinion is the cute little Fica turned convertible. This rolling reklama (commercial) is evidence how popular Serbian visitors are in this town.

Traveling in a Serbian pack, I shocked a few people there. I would speak partially in Serbian but mostly in English to my travel buddy. More than once I was asked why I was speaking English.  The border crossings were a bit amusing too. The only U.S. Passports in a bus of Serbs was an oddity. Though, most border guards acted like it was natural.

Speaking of Border crossings… I love seeing all the different flags! The Serbian one:

The writing at the bottom says I love Serbia

The Macedonian one:

The Greek flags colors are my favorite. I love blue and white.

A tourist ship with two Greek Flags!

End rabbit trail. OK, back to the Paralia pics.

I prefer the natural beauty of an every day occurrence. The serenity of sunrise is never less then Blissful.

Mornings stillness and lack of distraction is just what this girl loves.

Simplicity in the quiet morning hours without the noise and excitement of the rest of the world. It is like having  the town to yourself.

Mount Olympus peeks from behind the sleepy hotels. not creature stirs on the beach.

The sea side church watches over the town.

The Church is very impressive. The steps are marble. I would be afraid of them in the rain. Very slippery.

I love the reflection of the church next door in the cafe windows.

Have a great weekend!

That’s What’s Up

I had an unintentional week off from blogging. Since it is cherry season, and the harvest is in about a month we will be busy with that and all the other village work. There will probably be other lapses in writing.

The village has had us most of the last week. Weeding, pruning, planting, and even avoiding snakes! Just a little one, he was less than 3 feet long.

Just a little constrictor

He was sunning himself on the road when the little munchkin and I were returning from the Greats. (The Great Grandparents.) Fortunately, the neighbor lady I was walking home with saw him. I was busy driving a new kiddie contraption that needs a little adjustment. The steering was a little off…. but we avoided the slithering sunbather by a few feet. He or she was so happy to feel the heat, the stones I threw to shew it away were not headed. not a few minutes later, the hubby came alone in the tractor and a stick at his back side made him move reluctantly on to the side of the road.

In my blogging absence I have come across lot of things to share, most of which I cannot recall. But one that does stick out is the load pop I heard yesterday. I was in the apt with Mama and the baby. The loudest bang you can imagine out of now where startled me. Now, normally I am not unnerved by such things. But, since our first trip to Serbia 5 years ago, when a bomb went off in our building at 6AM, I am now a little weary of loud bangs and pops!

Mama said it was a car tire popping because of the heat. Another new thing to learn about in Serbia. Apparently, it is not uncommon for tires on old cars to pop on hot days. Interesting…

We have had a few summer type thunder showers in the past week. The lightening show was fierce on the the earliest. and the sun cam out while it was raining on both. There is a saying here when the sun shines during a rain storm here in Serbia, they say bears are getting married. 🙂  Cute, huh?

On our day in town of “rest” we had coffee with a friend on his rooftop!  The view from the top of the bank at sunset was stunning!

I love sunsets!

Plants and so many chimneys covered the roof for the myriad of wood stoves that heat so many rooms.

This was the coolest chimney I saw.

 

The little monster ran around the roof with joy at finding a new place to explore. Avoiding the many hands of friends, she laughed, giggled and fell a few times too. Eventually all the running and laughing turned to fussing and we had to get back home to put the munchkin down for the night. I love how excited she gets when she is tired and she sees the bed. It is just how I feel sometimes.

Our slava, Sveti Nikola

Today is our families Slava. I am not looking forward to it. It is a fasting slava with fish and beans. I hate the fish, and the beans are made with no oil. so they stop up the plumbing. I am going now to eat some non-fasting food so my body doesn’t lead a revolt later that will put me in agony!

The early morning tradition for the day of slava.

Wish me luck!

I will post about the slava  when I can.

Dobar Dan!

Photography Friday~ Thessalonika

my first (not really) jumping pic

Thanks to my awesome travel buddy who thought of the idea!

She looks really graceful!

No time to day for writing much so here are some fun pics of the city.

The White Tower

Random folks family time in Aristotle Square

yummy Easter bread and other scrumptious baked treats.

The sign on the red canopy below says, “pop corn”.

One guy holding at least three lamb carcasses. Ya don’t see that everyday… well, I don’t.

One more pic for the road. Happy Weekend.

A beautiful Easter display with lots of eggs colored red. The most common color for eggs in this part of the world.

Hope to be writing again in a day or two. Busy time of year here.
Dobar Dan!