Christmas customsWith the Saint Catherine’s day (November 25th) we begin to feel that special, festive twinkles of a seasonal Spirit-of-Celebrations… Although the circle of Christmas festivities starts a week later, on a Saint Barbara’s Day (December 4th) when the wheat berries are planted in shallow pots. Kept well watered the wheat grows rapidly and is a beautiful vibrant green, making thus a great decoration for home, announcing bountiful days of fertility, which the coming New Year promises.
First Sunday in December is a beginning of Advent (adventus, the Latin word for “coming”); it is also the day when the first of four candles on the Advent wreath is lit.
An Advent wreath is a circle of evergreens with places for four candles: three violet for penance and one rose-colored, lit on the third week, which is called Gaudete (Rejoice) to symbolize the coming joy and red ribbon to decorate the wreath.
Children are specially fond of Advent and its saints: Saint Nicholas and Santa Lucia, both bringing gifts, generosity, light and joy, which culminate on Christmas day.
The whole month of December is filled with expectation and celebration. Preparation is the key word for the first 24 days of December. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas — shopping and decorating, baking and cleaning... especially on a day before Christmas: wreaths and garlands of evergreen boughs are hung on doors or over windows. The whole family gets together to set up the Christmas tree – vivid and glowing symbol of hopes and wishes…Through the Christmas eve you can hear the songs of carollers (children entertaining residents, singing traditional songs from door to door, receiving treats).
Christmas Eve dinners are often meatless, consisting of seafood: a local delicacy is Poached Cod With Potatoes, and of course pasurate (a kind of a doughnut), various home made cookies, pies with carob filling, arancini (candied orange peel), candied almonds, dried figs and, of course, hjib - a small round "bread" made of minced dried figs with seasonings...
Attending a Midnight Mass, celebrating and rejoicing the holy moments, sharing love and hope with family and friends in the spirit of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The Christmas Day is a day when friends and family gather from near and far to share the warmth of the season... and this entire day is somehow – blessed.
New Year's EveA day before New Year is a festive day on the island of Bisevo, where stands the ancient church dedicated to Saint Sylvester, the patron saint of the island. The local inhabitants gather already in the early afternoon round the bonfire, fun-filled day highlighting local traditional dishes, celebrating the coming of the New Year... it would be nice to join them in these joyous hours.
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