It’s Christmas day again today -a very different experience to 25th December though.
Always has been, mostly because my mother observed orthodox rituals with diligence every year, as the priest noted at her funeral. She was ‘a true orthodox woman’, he said. So 7th January and the week leading up to it involved a vegan diet and spiritual contemplation. By the time Christmas eve came, I was in a different frame of mind after the hectic holiday season of the western world. Serious and contemplative, appreciative of the food made for me.
I always liked going to church on the eve and watching the oak branches burning outside after mass. Then that would be it -home. Always, people would call by for a black coffee and food. One small living room-come-kitchen would fill with up to twelve people for no more than an hour -just to talk with each other again – a favourite pass-time. No exchange of gifts, just a blether.
It’s been over a year since I started to wear black as a mourning colour and understand its significance in reflecting that dark, dead feeling inside that evolves over the months. I can see now why all the Babas would spend twenty years and more in the hue (which it is of course). Washing and ironing black clothes every week adds to their ritualistic existence, drawers of neatly folded black items, interspersed by jade, crimson and stripes.
I vow to wear less black this year, if it feels right. I may even take part in a vegan fast right through to Easter -fish is allowed twice a week; Wednesday and Friday. Which is okay, plenty of Chowder and Cullen Skink.
I’ve grown used to the different influences in my life -my music collection reflects that and the muse has reappeared in the guise of old masters again. The bonfire of Badnja Vece heats up the soul ready for the remainder of an icy winter til the light changes and the flowers come again. There are threads of life appearing already.
Mir Božji Hristos se rodi.