Whatever Wednesday~ Easter Feast pics

Easter in the village is so much less formal than I have known Easter to be. Mind you, there are formalities. Just different ones.

Family Sets up the “picnic” under the pavilion, Neighbors wander in. There weren’t as many people as I thought. It must be an invite only kind of thing?  I don’t know.

There is tons of food, wine, and beer waiting to be consumed. The table is lined with the closest family and friends and the ceremonial bread is broken.

Brothers

Wine is poured into the four crevices cut into the cake like bread. Probably to symbolize the four places Jesus was pierced with nails.  Now it is like a communion bread and wine all in one. Pieces of the bread are passed around to everyone. Incense is burned, candles are lit and food is eaten. Not all in that order. 🙂

Lighting the incense, saying a prayer. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Everyone is lined up to light their candles by the Ancient cross.

The candles they will light are a soft wax. If you hold them in your hand too long they wilt like a flower and face down. Easily remedied by straightening them out.  and letting them cool a bit.

I had to get a pic of this lady with the kerchief tied behind her head. If that outfit doesn’t scream fortune teller. I don’t know what does. But this is just her choice of clothes for the day.

 

The cross is  the closest thing to a church in the village. There is a church a village or two over, and then the one in town. There are lots of these crosses all over. One might be hiking through the forest and find an old abandoned cross like this from another lifetime in Serbia. The  writing on the cross is in old Cyrillic. I can’t read it.

People eat. Children get restless. Beer, cigarettes, and conversation flank the table. Children find ways of amusing themselves.

washing their hands over and over, playing in the water.

 

Taking walks

 

Learning and playing the egg tapping game for the first time.

Happy Easter from our family to yours.

 

 

Easter Monday~ Orthodox Lunch and Colored Eggs

After the family dilemma yesterday, we did finally go for lunch and enjoyed the company of family and the fellow villagers.

Uncle Milosh with the pic that was roasted on a spit the day before Easter.

No time now to post pics of the Easter feast, but will do later this week. For now just a little post on the eggtivities. :0)

Coloring eggs is done here on Good Friday, better known as Big Friday in this part of the world. It is much the same, accept that as it is with almost everything else it takes a lot more time and effort.

Easter egg dye and other paraphernalia.

Back home we start off with white eggs food coloring and vinegar.  Dipping the eggs and coloring them takes a few seconds and you can make one egg a few colors with some careful dipping.

another vender at the market selling Easter decor.

Here they start with Brown eggs ditto on the rest. The dying time is 10 minutes to an hour! Since it is so time intensive, eggs are only one color.!? But darker because the Eggs are brown to begin with. Designs can be created with leaves, or bags. I love that part of the creativity. I certainly appreciate the work put into them!

I can just imaging how shocked my Serbian sister in the U.S. was when we dyed eggs together. The colors were the pastels I am accustomed to. She asked if we could make the colors darker. Now I know why. That is what she was used to seeing. And the difference in color is kind of a let down when you are far from home and want to do something traditional. Definitive Culture Shock! Funny how it pops up at the weirdest moments.

There are no Egg hunts here, but there are serious competitions for egg tapping. The youtube video below shows what I mean. less than a minute in is all you need to watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVFWhoDIk30

I have only played this with the husband so far, My egg was the winner. He told me after, pointier eggs are best!

Decorations may be done with the new decals we find in the west, but old fashioned  decorations are my favorite here. This pic is from Wikipedia from the Czech republic… but they use this technique all over Eastern Europe.

Learning new traditions is the really good part of being an expat.

Dobar Dan y’all

 

Orthodox Easter~Complications and Culture shock

It is just after 8 Am, the church bells have been continuously ringing for several minutes. A joyful noise on this Orthodox Easter Morning. I am having coffee on the terrace with the help of a curtain hung on the clothes line to dull the sun from blinding me as I enjoy the out of doors.

Bells are still ringing, doves and pigeons are cooing, roosters crow now and again, and a dog barks in the distance. The only sound that doesn’t belong in this cacophony is the occasional bronchial coughing of some poor sod who has smoked to long and is breaking up the beauty of the morning with his hacking up of a lung.

Today we are supposed to go to the village for an Easter celebration. I am not sure if that is gonna happen. Mama and Papa have agreed to be the beneficiaries of the Easter feast. Let me explain:

Every year in our village, one family does all the cooking for the villagers. There is an ancient cross in the center of the village and everyone meets there under the pavillion.

Mama and Papa agreed to do this or it was their turn? Even though they just moved there.? Or Mama just wants to show off all her cooking as she is really good at it and wants to let everyone in on the not so secret secret. I think she gets her kicks showing off her cooking skills. I know I love eating her food too!

I don’t know. Lots is lost in translation to me, and I don’t want to always ask for all the details. It is annoying for the people who must constantly translate.

No matter what the situation. It was assumed that with all the work the hubby is doing on the farm that he would just add more on the workload by helping set up the food and all that. If we had been asked, I think that would be O.K. but as per usual in the family one or two people take on the task and expect others to work off half their arse to do what the other person agreed to do. I used to do my part but now as the munchkin demands much of my time, all I seem to accomplish is setting the table or washing the dishes if I am lucky. (Yes, I mean Lucky!. It is a break from the norm.)

For me, it seems ridiculous that one family have so much on their shoulders. But apparently the idea of a potluck dinner is lost on this country.

Either way, We are not going early to help, or we would already be there. Normally, I would say you must help your family, and it is Easter and all that, but I am fed up with all the hoopla at the moment and I would rather just focus on what today is about. As you can read, I am not doing a good job of that!

Guilt world normally be hovering over me. But, as they have another grown adult child who they expect nothing of while my husband and I do all the necessary chores, I have sent guilt packing!

Another possibly interesting element to the story…. When we first arrived, mama told me “We” should plan to have a Serbian Wedding and Christening for Millie on Easter. So then all the family will be there anyway. I was supposed to cajole Milan in to wanting to do this. Bwahaha!

I do not want ANOTHER wedding. We already had two. One Early to save $1000 buck with citizenship paper work that was going up in price by a certain date. The other later to have a real wedding and the family present.

The thought of having one here is too much. The stress of it would be overwhelming, especially with a baby to care for. Then there would also be the Christening.

Now, I am wondering if they took all this on in hopes perhaps that wedding and Christening may happen. Or more likely they just wanted to celebrate having the family present for the first time for an Easter celebration, since their son has been gone for the better part of 10 years.

Half an hour later, the church bells are still ringing intermittently. A nice reprieve from the craziness in my head as I write this. This is surely an attack of culture shock.

Easter at home is about going to Church. Listening to the account of Christs tribulation, death and the joy of resurrection.  Celebrating with a family meal.

Of course capitalism of the U.S.  plays a part. Everyone has a new dress, and store-bought baskets of goodies with colored eggs set out in the morning to surprise the children. It is like mini Christmas in spring.

Only the Dove is cooing now and my rant has ended. Baby is fussing and my day really begins. It will certainly be an interesting Easter. I will keep you posted. 😉

Christ is Risen. Halelujah!

10 hours later: we did go to the village, pics to follow tomorrow. It was a wonderful Easter. Now the munchkin naps while I type once again.

Dobar Dan

Photography Friday~ Meteora

I went to Greece this week. It is a hop, skip, and a jump from Serbia. Well. Actually, a few hours stretched out to several hours if you are traveling with Serbians who know how to relax, have coffee and smoke like a chimney. 🙂

I was traveling with a bus trip of teachers. I was invited by my very good friend M. I am so happy I went. I made new friends. Enjoyed Greek food. and took 4 GB worth of pictures (That is 800 pics). No doubt, photography Friday will have a long Greek hang over. 😉

Today’s post is all about Meteora. This is directly from wikipedia:

The Metéora (Greek: Μετέωρα, pronounced [mɛˈtɛoɾɐ], lit. “middle of the sky”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above” — etymologically related to “Meteorite“) is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos.[1] The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river andPindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on theUNESCO World Heritage List. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora)

I count myself super blessed to have been able to see this natural beauty.Maybe these pics will bring a little more sunshine to your Friday.

The point of vising the Meteora was to visit a monastery atop the jutting rock formations. This is a sacred place for Orthodox people. It was a stronghold kept from the Turks who terrorized the Serbs, the Greeks, and others for centuries.

Back in the day, rope ladders were dropped to allow entrance. Also, basket like nets were let down for someone sit in. Then they were pulled up to the safety of the monastery. Now they have even cooler ways of getting from one place to another.

Seriously, that is better than the pope mobile!!

Only some of the monastery was open to the public, and pictures were prohibited in  much of that area. I am not complaining. I would rather take pics of the rock formations.

These sites don’t get old. I could snap away all day long!

Tourist do not only flock here for the monasteries. many people come from all over the world to climb these magestic monsters.

This is some impressive stuff!

Meteora was a highlight of the the trip. I would go again in a heartbeat!

Happy Friday!

Dobar dan

Munchkin Monday ~ Hana’s Christening on St. Patrick’s Day

The third of the three little musketeers had her first birthday!!

Our close-knit group of friends gathered once again to celebrate.

Hana’s Christening. The Godfather and the mother of the child stand before the priest.

Hana was not all that fond of the ceremony that took longer than most babies want to be held in front of a stranger. Especially when the stranger is singing Orthodox Christening chants. I am sure if it was the Becolino (Baby soap) Song She would have been just fine. 🙂

The priest sang/chanted, sprinkled water on her head, and cut her hair in four places. The Kum  (Serbian for best man) who is also the Godfather and Hana’s mom followed the priest, circling the altar three times.    This was a new cultural experience for me. I found it interesting. Also, The song “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof came to mind. So much of the ceremony is steeped in tradition going back centuries.

After the ceremony at the gorgeous old church, we had a short break. It was time for the little ones to nap and then met up back at the home of Hana and her family for an amazing dinner. Regretfully, I didn’t get to eat much, but what I did eat was YUM-mazing!

You may ask where the woman are.

The Munchkin and I in green for St. Patrick’s Day!

I hope Hana enjoyed her birthday. I know all the other kids enjoyed her toys. 😉 Thanks for sharing Hana!

For St. Patrick’s day, I did a little photo shoot with my little leprechaun. She was less than cooperative. This is my favorite of the pics.. It looks like she is dancing.

The Munchkin turns One!

Last night, We had a wonderful group of close friends come to celebrate the first year of the munchkin’s life.

Blowing out the candles

Blowing out the candle

All three the January, February, and March 2012 babies got to play together.   They are all walking now, and have less than 10 teeth between them. 😉

Jan, Feb, March girls

Jan, Feb, March girls

 

We still have some more celebrating yet, but this was the big shebang! It is a tradition here to celebrate the First birthday before the actual date. But we chose Saturday, because most people don’t work, not for the sake of tradition.

There are lots of traditions here for the first birthday, mostly revolving around a child being Christened in the church. They baptize the child, and cut locks of hair from the child. Then when you return home from the church there are still more of they traditions to follow. The Kum (pronouned KOOM) or Best man from the wedding has to cut another lock of hair and maybe give a speech.

All the traditions are very nice. But this was stressful enough for me. I am glad we did not have to do all the regularly scheduled Serbian traditions on this day as well.

Trying to plan a birthday party when only one person in the house speaks both languages and the other two women try to understand each other it is a bit more hectic. Throw in some PMS and different cultural ideas and it can turn ugly. It didn’t though. It only got a little harried when The muz (husband) heard his father planned to bring a roasted suckling pig. (That was  a jolt of Culture shock!) This was the day before the party and after all the food prep and planning had been done.

The only little piggies at the party. Yummy bread Piglets. With Pepper seeds for eyes and Rye for the nostrils.

The only little piggies at the party. Yummy bread piglets. With pepper seeds for eyes and Rye for the nostrils.

I will admit I was a bit miffed that mama was making my little one’s first cake. I had planned for the cup cakes I was making to be her cake. But that was lost on the mama and I was too tired of trying to explain. In the end it turned out better that way. The recipe I tried for the frosting was horrid. It was better to use her cake.

I did get lucky with the cup cakes frosting. At the last-minute there was some pudding left over that make a nice topping for the cup cakes.

International baking is much more difficult than one would imagine. The flour around the world is NOT the same. It tastes different so do some of the other ingredients. Making the finish product taste different from it does in your home country.

Our flour comes from our families fields. After the harvest, they take it to a mill where it is ground. It is not processed and bleached like the flour you buy at the store. You can imagine how that can change things.

The Munchkin is awake now. Must go carry on with the day. More about the party tomorrow.

Dobar Dan

 

Sveti Trifun 365-46

I posted yesterday about February 14th holidays. After I wrote the little blog, THE MUSIC BEGAN. I was in the middle of changing and dressing Little Miss when it started. I got so excited to go see what was going on I could wait to be finished with her and to dress myself.

A crowd of people enjoying free wine and rakija

A crowd of people enjoying free wine and rakija

Soon enough, good camera in hand I was on my way… Just outside there was a band playing traditional Serbian music.

A Grandma and he little grandbaby were up on the terrace above looking down on it all.

Grandma and grandbaby

Grandma and grandbaby

Waiters from the Cafe Pariz  were milling about the crowd with trays full of FREE wine and rakija. Almost immediately, I was offered some, after declining once and a brief conversation in Serbian,  he asked in English where I was from. Then offered me a little wine again. The second time was a charm. Wine in hand, I watched the show. Since I was already buzzed off of my Turkish coffee and no breakfast, the wine made me a little but more buzzed.

Traditional band

Traditional band

It was the cafe owner’s Slava. Sveti Trifun, pronounced Teefoon, is the patron saint of wine. There was a gorgeous loaf of bread in the shape of Grapes on a table with the traditional Slava set up.

Grape shaped bread

Grape shaped bread

I believe it got around that I was an American, for when the traditions started a man came over and told me where I should be watching so I could get good pictures. He was very nice, polite, and helpful. I am so glad he cared enough to show me.

First there was the lighting of the candle like we do for out slava. Then the owner went over to the grape vine and  cut a couple pieces off the grape vine.

Cutting the grape vine

Cutting the grape vine

Pouring the wine

Pouring the wine for a prosperous new season

Then the breaking of the bread with a friend.

Breaking the bread

Breaking the bread

I know they do this every year. I remember last time I was here for February 14th I could hear the music, but I was stuck in the apt in a cast. No going to check things out. I am so glad I can get out now.

Stray Dalmatian

Stray Dalmatian

There was a sweet Dalmatian lingering about waiting for some love in the form of food. He was so sweet but malnourished. I threw him some bread twice and saw some others do the same. I wish I could do so much more. I feel so bad for the many sweet strays here. They break my heart.

The gypsy lady caught taking her pic

The gypsy lady caught taking her pic

There was a lone gypsy lady there. I think she, along with many others were feeling good from the wine and rakija. After she saw me taking her picture, she really wanted to talk to me, but my Serbian or lack there of made it impossible for us to understand one another. There again, it could have been something how much she had to drink impairing her speech and my ability to understand. She was very persistent, so much some bystanders helped me to escape, twice!

Kolo Party

Kolo Party

She had a merry time. She danced as I would have liked to have and later joined the Kolo line. I had to get back up to the little one. But I got some pics of the dancing from the window.

The little one got to watch too.

Little Miss at the window

Little Miss at the window

Sveti Sava 365-27

Traditional Bread for Slava

Today, a friend invited me to join her and her little munchkin. We attended a museum celebrating Saint Sava. The place was packed.with people. There were Children’s drawing all over the three rooms that held all the artifacts for celebrating this Orthodox holiday. Breads, decorated with flowers, crosses, leaves and a myriad of Icons with lots of meanings were the biggest attraction. There was a contest for the best one.

This one was the winner.

Lots of work goes into these breads. I haven’t even attempted to make one. I must learn how. My friend M. told me that the children are taught at school how to make them. These breads are entries from the kids in school. But it is obvious these are not made by the kids. They are amazing works of art!

The best bread were all on this table.

The kids drawings were really nice. I was really impressed. One day the little munchkin will be drawing these things too.

Kids drawings of the Saints

There was a priest there that gave a short service in the beginning and the Sveti Sava song was sang by all. Below is a nice version on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvwUdxizLwY

There was even a table up front with the traditional foods and wine.

The tradional  foods on the table for the Slava

The bread, wheat, and wine were the traditional foods… the cookies were just an added bonus. SO yummy!

My little munchkin slept most of the time. She woke up after we left. Kinda nice to have the quiet time. It was easier to take pictures with the phone while she slept. 🙂

The backyard of the Museum

The weather was great for walking to and from the museum. The grounds for the building are so gorgeous. I must go back with the good camera for pictures in the spring.

 

Srecan Bozic or Merry Christmas 365-8

Today is Serbian Orthodox Christmas. If you are Greek or Russian or any other Orthodox Christian, today Christmas! Best wishes to you all!!

This is a popular picture circulating around my Serbian community on Facebook, wishing all a marvelous holiday.

Virtual Serbian Christmas Card

Here people are greeted with  the saying Christ is born or Hristos se rodi (Cyrillic spelling Христос се роди).

Phones were buzzing all morning with friends and family calling each other exclaiming Hristos Se Rodi!

The car seat view on the way to Grandma’s

Today was a family day. The way Christmas should be. Mama and Papa played with the baby. The munchkin learned how to pet the kitty. carefully.

Loving on Tomo

Auntie and Papa vied for the little one’s attentions while we all waited for the yummy food to finish cooking. It was worth the wait, I assure you.

Deda and Tetka with our little wiggle worm.

Deda was in hog heaven as the Milster played happily in his lap. It didn’t last long enough, she always wants the mommy so soon! I did get quite a nice break today. Longer than normal, so I got to help in the kitchen. I even had enough time to make the cabbage salad and later I washed the dishes, a welcome break from the little love.

There is always salad to start, fresh bread, and gibanica. YUM!

We had many of the same salads from yesterday with the addition of the cabbage. There was soup, then Rimfleish. This is a German dish normally served with beef, but our family eats it with Chicken primarily.  Boiled carrots and potatoes accompany this dish. As always it was served with gibanica, a filo dough with egg and cheese pastry. Super yummy. I love making it!

Rimfleish made from the bad rooster (One of my stock fotos) forgot to take a pic today

Next there was smoked meats from the turkey and pig we just killed. Plus meatballs. After all that there was the turkey. But, I didn’t have any room left, believe it or not. 😉

Half the Turkey is still a huge!

The special bread was cut after yesterday’s pick and pull tradition. Almost none is left. Most families put a coin in the bread for a lucky person to find. I can imagine as a child that would be thrilling! Who am I kidding, I would be tickled to death now to get a coin in my bread.

Mama out did herself again. We were all stuffed to bits at the end of dinner. I didn’t even have room for the sour cherry desert. I will have some later… I brought it home with me!

As usual, we all had some coffee. Serbian style. so it was Turkish. 🙂

Turkish coffee on a tray. That’s just how we roll.

After dinner it was back to relaxing with the family. What and excellent day!

*Regretfully, only the only food picture from today was the one with the broken bread and the turkey, I was too busy eating to take pics!