Today is Ukrainian Christmas Eve, and the time we have our biggest celebration. No, we’re not Orthodox!
19th century painting of Ukrainian Christmas by Mykola Pymonenko.
So – I really, truly have almost no book news this week! However, here is a video of the so-called “Carol of the Bells”. I know some people don’t realise this is actually a *Ukrainian* New Year song! On the other hand, I think it’s wonderful the whole world has embraced it.
Saturday’s summer sunset. So orange!
So, Merry Christmas – again (NOT just Orthodox Christmas!). And New Year again next week.
Until now, every year of my life our Christmas cooking has been done at my grandmother’s house. However, as she died in May, this year there were only two of us (usually there’re four or five) doing the cooking: me with my mother. And she has a nasty burn and a bandaged arm from a few days before the other Christmas.
So, we didn’t remember to take any pictures until the very end!
This is just about the only one we have. It is of varenyky (dumplings, these made with potato, but they can be made with anything). We made dozens and dozens, but I didn’t take a picture until the last few were about to be cooked.
Ukrainian Christmas starts with kutia, which is a wheat and honey soup-thingy. Then borscht (which is Ukrainian, not Russian, despite what everyone thinks). You are supposed to have twelve dishes, but I can’t eat that much, so I count the bread and butter and everything as a “dish”!
The other great thing that happened this week was that ANOTHER cat has adopted us. However, this one has a collar and a tag, so he must have a responsible owner.
It’s just that he is here almost all day and all night! I already love him so much.
Our heatwave is back, which is sort of… difficult to live through…
The view from our kitchen at about 8:30pm on our hottest evening this week.
This week was all about the heatwave. I achieved about a third of as much as I wanted to, because Canberra’s temperature hovered around 40°C (104°F) every day. In the middle of all of that we celebrated Ukrainian New Year on Tuesday – champagne when it’s over forty degrees isn’t the smartest thing to drink! We’re supposed to take down the Christmas decorations today, but it’s the last thing I feel like doing at the moment.
And from the other side of the house.
I think my latest Regency/Victorian reading spree is coming to an end. I really do wish publishers would package their books better. You never know if you’re going to pick up a serious historical drama/romance or a Disney-style romp where 19th century people all run around having casual sex, getting divorces on a whim and chatting in modern American slang. I’m getting tired of the second kind. If you want to write contemporary characters, then write contemporary books!
Of course, I’ll be reading more of them (I’m addicted), but it’s time to extend my reading in some other genres, too.
Today is Christmas Eve for many people in the world – me included.
Every time I tell someone what the 6th of January is, they say, “Oh, so you’re Orthodox then”. (They say the same at Eastertime!). This is a geographical thing, not a religious thing. I’m not Orthodox; I’m Ukrainian Catholic. It’s just that some countries follow the Julian calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar.
Growing up with two Christmases, as well as two Easters wasn’t bad! Two sets of presents and two sets of Easter eggs! We’ll still give gifts this evening, but not as many as we did in December.
Most of Australia, except for Sydney and its region, has suffered a massive heatwave this week. While others caught a break this weekend, Canberra didn’t; the temperatures are still hovering around 40°C (104 Fahrenheit). Spending the last two days cooking potatoes and kneading dough was kind of hot work.
All the cooking had to be done because it’s tradition to have twelve dishes for dinner on Christmas night. This includes one of Ukraine’s most famous inventions: borsch. This year we also have some Moët & Chandon to go with the food. Not exactly Ukrainian, but nobody is going to argue!
Ukrainian Christmas card by Jaroslav Adamovich. Lviv Ukraine.
Poor Tasmania really suffered badly from the heatwave this week. Bushfires tore through the region around the state capital, Hobart. Many homes, as well as schools and other public buildings have been destroyed. Because some people have been cut off, they have parked cars on beaches to try and save them, and then been evacuated by boat. It’s a terrible way to start the year.
This comes almost ten years to the day since the Canberra firestorm, which we were caught up in the middle of here. Bushfires are scary things.