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Thread: Religion and Christmas in Russia and elsewhere....

  1. #1
    Hanna
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    Religion and Christmas in Russia and elsewhere....

    Just a thread for anything related to Christmas and New Years' regardless of what date you celebrate, or how you celebrate (if you celebrate at all.... )

    PLEASE SHARE YOUR CHRISTMAS CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS!

    ----------------------
    Today is the day of the Scandinavian midwinter pre-Christmas festival of light, called "St Lucia" [it's an old pagan / Christian holiday. The celebration involves lots of singing and drinking Nordic glühwein (glögg).]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk0FyZqNp5Q
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpexX...eature=related
    A Lucia procession looks looks like below. All schools, hospitals and workplaces have them, usually very early in the morning.





    NO SNOW!!! Global Warming is getting really bad....







    ====================================

    What's your favourite Christmas song?


    My favourite is "Oh Holy Night" (French original is "Cantique de Noël")
    ==================================
    "OH HOLY, NIGHT" (fave xmas song)
    IN HUNGARIAN with nice pics.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghBz17icHIs

    By Rein Alexander, a famous Norwegian tenor, singing in Swedish.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9gpYR-KWUw
    ==================================


    Last, but not least:

    1) I really hate the commercialism of Christmas!. I don't really want Christmas presents from anybody but my very closest friends and family. The hysterical Christmas shopping is actually FREAKY, as if everyone was under HYPNOSIS....

    Christmas in England is particularly commercialised. Most people here in the UK do not care about the real meaning of Christmas at all.

    Next Christmas I'll go to the coldest and most traditional part of Sweden and have real traditional Christmas among the reindeer! Not joking - my cousins live in that area. This year I am just biting my lip and will stay in London....



  2. #2
    Увлечённый спикер jjjiimm's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    A lot of gifts and food.. Your typical American Christmas.

    Christmas day we go to church and fellowship there with even more food.

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    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    NO SNOW!!! Global Warming is getting really bad....
    Here is the picture I'v made in front of my home building (located 50 km east from Moscow) at the first day of this winter:



    Thank God that now the winter and snow came here at last!
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

  4. #4
    Hanna
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    The lawn in front of your house looks like a golf course in the middle of the summer! Frankly I feel like going to Copenhagen and joining those protesters. at the climate summit. They were right all along!

    The "winter" weather in England is almost designed to drive you mental. It's not really cold - but constantly raining and windy. No snow, just grey skies....

    Frankly I envy you to be in Moscow right now.
    I want snow and -15C... Right now! (but it's not going to happen in London. If it goes below freezing the people panic and one centimetre of snow brings the whole city to a halt... Haha... )

    I always thought Moscow seemed like grand place to spend a winter! You have several public skating rinks and things in the centre of town, don't you? Plus people in Russia have cool style of winter clothing I think. What's it like in the other cities where peopl on the forum live? St Petersburg and Novosibirsk, I think?

    My grandparents went to Moscow in the middle of the winter a long time ago. They went swimming in a very cool outdoor pool right in the middle of the city and loved it. I read that this pool has been filled up and a Church has been built there.

  5. #5
    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    I fail to see the good sides of snow. The longer it remains absent, the better.

    Our Christmas will be a series of family get-togethers with lots of food and presents. No ritual for me, though I expect my wife will take my sons to church on Christmas eve.

    Robin
    Спасибо за исправления!

    Вам нравится этот форум, и вы изучаете немецкий язык? Вот похожий форум о немецком языке.

  6. #6
    Увлечённый спикер
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    My parents are divorced so I usually have three separate christmas celebrations. Just talking to family and exchanging gifts, nothing too big.

  7. #7
    Подающий надежды оратор
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    For the following wonderful christmas poem you'll need some basic German vocabulary as it deals with xmas in Germany (Weihnacht). Have fun.

    Märry Christmäs, märry Christmäs,
    Hear the music, see the lights,
    Frohe Weihnacht, Frohe Weihnacht,
    Märry Christmäs allerseits.

    When the snow falls wunderbar
    And the children happy are,
    When is Glatteis on the street,
    And we all a Glühwein need,
    Then you know, it is soweit:
    She is here, the Weihnachtszeit.

    Every Parkhaus ist besetzt,
    Weil die people fahren jetzt
    All to Kaufhof, Mediamarkt,
    Kriegen nearly Herzinfarkt.
    Shopping hirnverbrannte things
    And the Christmasglocke rings.

    Mother in the kitchen bakes
    Schoko-, Nuss- and Mandelkeks
    Daddy in the Nebenraum
    Schmücks a Riesen-Weihnachtsbaum
    He is hanging auf the balls,
    Then he from the Leiter falls.

    Finally the Kinderlein
    To the Zimmer kommen rein
    And it sings the family
    Schauerlich: “Oh, Christmastree!”
    And everybody in the house
    Is packing die Geschenke aus.

    Mama finds under the Tanne
    Eine brandnew Teflon-Pfanne,
    Papa gets a Schlips and Socken,
    Everybody does frohlocken.
    President speaks in TV,
    All around is Harmonie.

    Bis mother in the kitchen runs:
    Im Ofen burns the Weihnachtsgans.
    And so comes die Feuerwehr
    With Tatü, tata daher,
    And they bring a long, long Schlauch
    And a long, long Leiter auch.
    And they crying: “Wasser marsch!”
    Weihnachtsfest is now im Arsch.

    (Anonymous American poet)

  8. #8
    Завсегдатай BappaBa's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    My grandparents went to Moscow in the middle of the winter a long time ago. They went swimming in a very cool outdoor pool right in the middle of the city and loved it. I read that this pool has been filled up and a Church has been built there.



  9. #9
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    This story is more interesting than you think, Johanna.
    Originally there stood the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, but it was demolished during the Stalin's reign. They planned to build this on the site:



    Read more about this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Soviets

    This is how it would have looked like today:




    To balance this enormous construction in the city's outlook it's been proposed to erect 7 additional hi-rise buildings making 8 in total (in 1947 they were preparing to meet the 800-th anniversary of Moscow).

    It has never been built because of the war, but the 7 towers have.

    Later the project was abandoned and the swimming pool called Moscow was built.
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  10. #10
    Hanna
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Wow, interesting pictures. That pool is amazing. It's pretty cool to have an outdoor pool like that in the middle of the city. I haven't heard about anywhere that has it, other than Iceland. What a shame that it had to go. Did anybody here swim in it? Hope the new church is popular then, since it caused the closure of this pool.

    The "Palace of the Soviet" from Basil's picture is too "OTT" (over-the-top) I thought. Intimidating architecture.. The statue on the top was just... erm.. not my taste. But from the Wiki article it seems that only the war stopped it from being built. There are some zeppelins in the picture. Cool!

    But there is something pretty cool about the architecture of public buildings of the Stalin era. I saw it in St Petersburg and liked it. It's got a kind of clean and forceful classic look to it that is quite attractive and refreshing. Plus, the style is unique and doesn't really exist anywhere else, at least not anywhere that I've been to. Is there a name for this style...? There ought to be.

  11. #11
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Hope the new church is popular then, since it caused the closure of this pool.
    It is the main Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox church. Some however say that the place is cursed since the original cathedral was demolished and the place defiled.

    Here's the full history:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedr...viour_(Moscow)

    P.S. Also here's the article about those seven high buildings that were built to counter-balance the Palace of Soviets:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Sisters_(Moscow)
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  12. #12
    Hanna
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Oh! I 'll check the links.
    Sorry, I had no idea it was the main cathedral of the Orthodox religion.
    In light of this information my comment is pretty silly. A swimming pool hardly compares with a major cathedral. Hope it didn't cause offense.

    It's completely unbelievable that Stalin would tear that down! In school I remember reading that USSR used churches as storage rooms because nobody wanted to use them for worship anymore. I guess that wasn't the full story!

  13. #13
    Завсегдатай
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    A swimming pool hardly compares with a major cathedral. Hope it didn't cause offense.
    Well, I'd prefer a pool. It was absolutely unique, there's no pool like that now! And the cathedrals are EVERYWHERE. Really. I hope I did not offended anybody either.
    I don't advocate those who destroyed the initial cathedral. But tearing down the cathedral to create a pool, and then tearing the pool down to create a cathedral - it's somewhat absurd. I wish people just stick with what they have and stopped destroying things to build something "better".

  14. #14
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    In our country nothing is impossible. I wouldn't be surprised if they demolish the cathedral again, build a poll there and fill it with holy water.

    My parents didn't let me to swim there when I was a kid since they said that all kinds of interesting diseases could be caught in that pool. Parasytes, infections, etc.
    The reconstruction of the cathedral was PRed everywhere and I'm not surprised that many people supported it.

    As an Orthodox christian I prefer to visit smaller churches. I've visited the cathedral once and all I saw there was a HQ of assorted religious officials. It is big, it is ostentatious, and one thing drove me to seizure of laughter - there is a paid parking lot in the basement.
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    Завсегдатай BappaBa's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    Well, I'd prefer a pool.
    +1

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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    In our country nothing is impossible.
    =)
    ЛДПР и КПРФ предложили восстановить памятник Дзержинскому

    Партии ЛДПР и КПРФ выступили с инициативой вернуть на Лубянскую площадь в Москве памятник Феликсу Дзержинскому.



    Если что, я "за".


  17. #17
    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    In school I remember reading that USSR used churches as storage rooms because nobody wanted to use them for worship anymore.
    Well, "nobody wanted" isn't a proper word. Better to say it wasn't allowed to worship there. During 30s one can be put in GULAG for that and even death punished. At the war years Stalin had to restore the official orthodox church to raise the morale of the Soviet troops. And the usage of former churches as storages and even pig farms was done purposely by Soviet authorites to desecrate former holy places. They wanted to remove religion completely from the peoples minds. And despite the official church was restored in 40s, some churches were reopened and there was allowed to worship there it's still was discouraged till the end of USSR. My mother and my grandmother who was very religious baptised me and my sister very secretly in a small remote village church and kept this fact in secret because my father could loose his job (he was a KGB officer) if his superiors have known that his children are baptised.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

  18. #18
    Hanna
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Gosh Bas, it's almost impossible to imagine what that was like! Respect for anybody (like your mother) who managed to keep their faith under such circumstances. What a strange situation to keep something important like a baptism secret! But I guess it might be significant in a different sort of way. I mean since she actually had to take a risk for her faith; a bit like the first Christians in Rome!

    The way the situation with religion in the USSR was presented to me back then, was that most people there weren't interested in religion anymore. There was a very famous comment by someone in the USSR, a cosmonaut I think. It was "Well we went to the skies but there was no sign of God, so he doesn't exist.." I heard this quoted so many times... It's an incredibly silly and simplistic comment, to be honest (no offense). But to a small kid it's seems pretty definite!

    I also heard that some really fantastic orthodox religious artifacts were simply destroyed. I am aware of the motivation for doing that ("religion is an opium...") but I still think it's practically criminal... Somebody who wanted to convince people that socialism was superior should have focused on delivering some practical results rather than destroy the competing worldviews! And people can't exactly pray to Karl Marx and find strength and support when they are having a difficult time... For that, you need religion.

    I guess there must have been lots and lots of people who did exactly what Bas' mother did.

    In the 1990s I remember reading that many people in Russia became involved in some rather strange sects, and that missionaries travelled there by the thousands to convert people to protestant denominations, or catholicism. Did you come across any such people?

  19. #19
    Hanna
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Ave Maria, by Schubert – my other favourite Christmas song...
    Anybody who plays the piano must know this one - fun to play on the piano...
    Here it is sung by Pavarotti in Italian.. I like it best in German though.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2ASBDFjPhs

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    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas traditions, music etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    I mean since she actually had to take a risk for her faith; a bit like the first Christians in Rome!
    Well, in the 70s as far as I know no one was punished for their believes or so but the logic of keeping the faith in secret was simple: to make a career in USSR one must be a member of communist party. If you are a party member than you must be a materialist. So if it's became known that someone baptised his/her children than he/she can be excluded from communist party and the career was over.

    In the 1990s I remember reading that many people in Russia became involved in some rather strange sects, and that missionaries travelled there by the thousands to convert people to protestant denominations, or catholicism. Did you come across any such people?
    Yes, one of my classmates was fallen in one of such sects and became completely insane. I myself met some such missionaries when I was a student in 90s but I sent them directly to their f#$%!ng god (I'v just noticed that in English that sounds like I killed them or so. Of course I just said: "А не пошёл бы ты..." that's what I ment by writing "I sent them").
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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