Poll

Which topic do you think is under represented on our site? Leave your comments and suggestions in the section “Comments and Suggestions”
Museum Collection
Exhibitions
Museum Events
Museum – to Children
Don Cossacks
Natural Monuments
Information for Tourists
View result

Results

Museum Collection
1 (11%)
Exhibitions
1 (11%)
Museum Events
1 (11%)
Museum – to Children
1 (11%)
Don Cossacks
2 (22%)
Natural Monuments
1 (11%)
Information for Tourists
2 (22%)
Polls archive

News

Christmas Time in the Don Country

17.01.2019

Christmas was the time of the most joy and fun in the year to differ from other holidays with a variety of customs, rites, signs, games and entertainment. Beginning with the celebration of the Nativity of Christ, it lasted almost two weeks – until Epiphany.

In old time, the main winter holiday of Cossacks was Christmas preceded by a 40-day Christmas (Filipp’s) Lent and Christmas Eve – the last day of the lent before Christmas, when the meals were known to be taken not before the rise of the first star. After the Christmas service, the family gathered in the chamber to pray for the icons and break their fast at holiday dinner.

On Christmas days there was a tradition to visit and receive guests for holiday gatherings with treats and entertainment. On the last days before Epiphany the gatherings were accompanied with songs and dances. On Christmas nights, girls disported themselves telling their spouse fortunes.

On the eve of the old New Year, January 13, wives usually cooked potato or cottage cheese dumplings with some of them stuffed with flour or salt, or a coin, some of them were left empty. There were signs associated with different dumpling stuffing for the eaters. In the morning, young Cossacks took a small bag of grain and ran to the Cossack houses to “saw grain” singing carols.

Christmas days ended with the feast of the Epiphany.

Nowadays, Cossacks in the Don villages and stanitsas remember old Cossack customs. One can meet modern “Christ praisers”, who though not completely follow the customs, but with fun and great pleasure give their holiday greetings to their relatives and friends. On Epiphany night the people take holy water and many of them dive into the river ice hole. We are glad that the interest in the customs of our ancestors is preserved, for good traditions bring us together.

 

Yelena Kleimenova
Galina Govorukhina