Monday, January 11, 2010
Yes, and we are still celebrating! This time it is the New Year and Russian Orthodox Christmas, the way we do it in Russian, with Ded Moroz and Snegurochka!
Even though this holiday celebration would be completely irrelevant to Americans, for those who grew up overseas, it was a dear and rather nostalgic way of celebrating.
I was the organizer and thanks to the opportunity to use the Europa Cafe we were able to pull everything without charging people a fee. Every parent was asked to bring a wrapped up gift for their child/ren, and a dessert or a dish to share.
With 15 adults and 13 children we had just enough crowd to feel very comfortable, without stepping over each others heads. The Christmas tree was not decorated on purpose, and as the families were arriving I was engaging the kids in helping me to spruce up the "elochka". We did mostly paper chains (oh, dear childhood memories!), snow flakes from the paper napkins and some pipe cleaners kids made decor. The tree turned out to be just lovely!
The grand moment was the appearance of Snegurochka! She ran in , all out of breath, happy to see the kids but sad that she had lost Ded Moroz on the way. Heartily, she was telling the kids the story about how they were going through the deep forest, all snowed in and got very, very tired and almost froze, as suddenly, the hut of Baba Jaga appeared and they were able to get warm and rest a bit.
But that was when Ded Moroz got lost! Luckily, Snegurochka had a walkie talkie (what a hit it was with the kids!) and they were able to get in touch with Ded Moroz to make sure he was all right. And then the loudest shouts you could possibly image brought Ded Moroz in!
Laughter! Smiles! Happiness! Some tears, as well, as one child got scared! Hugs! Presents!
...Presents! Not so fast!
Just imagine, kids are sitting around Ded Moroz, he has his big sack in front of him, everybody is so excited... Ded Moroz is opening the sack... Presents? ...All he dumped on the floor were old shoes, boots, snickers. Ah! What happened? Where did all the presents go?
I came up with the whole scenario one evening while putting Evan to sleep. Nobody new, except for Mirek, so, can you imagine everybody's eyes?
Not to make you wonder, it was a naughty Baba Jaga that played the trick! She switched the bags! But, she was kind enough to leave some kind of message that the kids had to decode if they wanted their presents back!
Dancing around the tree, singing songs together, making kids happy (or at least most of them!), hearing adults laugh and participate... It was all so fabulous!
Mirek's bath robe with a pillow stuck in, and a beard I made in 10 minutes one evening with a hat purchased on sale for $0.99 made a great Ded Moroz!
My wedding dress came in handy for Snegurochka, and I made a matching head dress out of recycled cardboard, cut up CDs, some beads, trims and glitter. And the blond braid was an absolute hit with everybody! And nobody knew that the dress did not zip up in the back! Ded Moroz had helped me to cover it up!
Everybody was expressing their thanks to us for putting up such a great performance!
When we joined everybody without the costumes already, Leona was telling us all about Ded Moroz and Snegurochka and was asking where we had been as we missed the whole celebration! Ivana was teasing us all the way back home begging us to admit that it was us dressed as Ded Moroz and Snegurochka. Milana told Mirek that Ded Moroz was old. And Evan would not come to me as long as I had that piece on my head.
And guess what. People are asking me to organize a celebration for the Women's Day, March 8th. Hmmm... let me think. I guess I'll cook something up next time I put Evan to bed.