I talked to H today, of our new Serbian family. She said that her daughter wanted to know if we will be burning a tree on Christmas Eve.
I had another speechless moment.
I was wondering if this was a symbolic thing the Serbians do to protest American involvment in the United Nations or some imperialistic blah blah. I briefly imagined a lighted, decorated spruce going up in flames while our Serbians and their children dance around it shouting "Death to Amer--"
She expounded before my vision went too far.
I found this online:
Christmas Eve is celebrated among the people in the Church according to an ancient ritual on the eve of the Nativity of Jesus Christ. The yule log (badnyak) is burned at twilight in the presence of a priest who blesses the gathered people in front of the church. The remaining logs are then taken into Orthodox Christian homes where they burn until midnight when Christmas celebrations begin. In cities, the tradition has been simplified and all that is taken into the home is a small package of dry branches from the Yule log, and hay.
The Yule log, according to tradition, is a symbol of the tree brought to Joseph and Mary by shepherds to light a fire and warm the cave where the God-Child was born. According to the Gospel, Lord Jesus Christ was born on hay and hence the hay included in the package of Yule branches, as well as the tradition of spreading hay in Christian homes.
Celebration of the family is also tied to the bringing into the home or the burning of the Yule log. All the members of the household gather around the Yule log in the warmth of love and the unity of the Christian faith.
It is also believed that the light of the Yule log, as the light of Christ's Nativity disperses the darkness of ignorance and evil.
I told H, "Every time I think I've found enough reasons to say I love Serbians, they give me yet another one!"
My Kuma, Zora, passed away on New Year's Eve and will be laid to rest on the Feast of the Nativity, Monday. May her memory be eternal!