January 7, 2010
Have you discarded your Christmas tree yet? Along my street I have seen Christmas trees out for pickup for the past two weeks. It is interesting to note when different people end Christmas. For some, it is long over.
Yet yesterday, January 6, was Epiphany or Three Kings Day; for many that is the culmination of the Christmas season. It is when the wise men or the Befana bring gifts to many of Hispanic and other southern European heritage.
And today, January 7, is Christmas Day for many of our Orthodox friends. That puts their Epiphany on January 19.
I love Christmas so I like to celebrate it as long as possible. We always keep the tree up in our home until January 7 so that we can mark Orthodox Christmas. That means that this year we will take the tree down on January 10. In past years it has sometimes been a later date.
And, because I like to cook and find an excuse to do so, every year I whip up Russian dinner (or my attempt at a Russian dinner) on January 7. Today we will have poached sturgeon (well, poached salmon) in Russian court-boullion with Russian style deviled eggs and lobio (really a Georgian dish).
This clinging to Christmas that I do is not just about food. There is something special about the Christmas season; it lifts the hearts of people and inspires hope and foolish idealism…it is these which I wish to hold onto. In the cold of January and February, may we remember the warmth of the midwinter festival, may we remember the dreams and hopes it inspires, may these not depart from us with the Christmas trees and lights.