Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 10: 12 Days of "Christmas Around the World"

I've been blessed to have traveled extensively throughout Europe while stationed as a missionary in Eastern Europe. To share a bit of that past, I bring to you The 12 Days of "Christmas Around the World." Each day I will chose a country I visited, tell a personal story, and share a Christmas tradition from that country. Please add your own family traditions in the comments section of these posts, or share your own international experiences if you've been blessed enough to travel.

Happy Holidays from Ms. Q!

Christmas in Croatia

Winter getting you down?

Sick of bundling up every time you head outdoors?

Need a bit of warm-weather cheer?

That's what you've got me for - to bring you delightfully sunny cityscapes from Trogir, Croatia.

Granted, this isn't a picture of Christmas in Croatia (it's Easter), but then that wasn't part of the deal was it?

I'm simply bringing you Christmas traditions from places I've visited around the world.

So there.

Here's your dang tradition, get off my back.

Many Croatian families decorate their Christmas trees with Licitar hearts - a special dough (that's edible, yet usually not eaten), shaped into hearts, and painted red. Colorful designs and artwork are added to each heart for a festive ornament.

These hearts have spread across other Central European countries, and larger versions are often given as gifts or tokens of appreciation and gratitude.

Croatians also practice the tradition of a yule log, which also, incidentally, is a Christmas tradition across the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia (read: parts of Slovenia, Serbia, and Croatia).

How do I know that?

Why, because I did a research paper in 4th grade on Christmas traditions in Yugoslavia. Little did I know how irrelevant that work would be so soon after I completed the project.

This was, of course, the early 90's and my word processing software (read: typewriter) did not yet have the "Find and Replace" function. So, unfortunately, the paper still reads "Yugoslavia" when mere months after it's publication it should have read "the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia."

Bygones. Back to the yule log.

The yule log is cut on Christmas Eve morning, left on the hearth all day, and burned at night throughout Christmas day. The burning of the log is accompanied by prayers to welcome in blessings for the new year.

In Serbia, it's customary that the first visitors to the home on Christmas day strike the burning log with a poker to release sparks and then bestow a blessing on the household.

I hope this all takes place in the safe confines of an enclosed fire place.

It seems that several of my 12 Christmas traditions from around the world include some sort of fire hazard. I promise that wasn't intentional.


Laura said...

Do you think the Yule Log has anything in common with the pooping log? I'm seeing some similarities that could signify some similar origins...

Ms. Quarter said...

Much like the releasing of sparks from a burning Yule log bestows blessings on the household, the releasing of the pooping log's innards bestows candy on young children.

I can see the connection.

Laura said...

My thoughts exactly.