Voices from Russia

Sunday, 14 January 2018

14 January 2018. Only in Russia… It’s Old New Year!

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Today is Old New Year in Russia! Yes… that’s an unofficial Russian holiday. You see, 14 January is 1 January on the Julian Calendar that the Orthodox Church uses. Therefore, many people (including many non-religious sorts) hold a second New Year celebration on that day. A leftist friend of mine emailed me:

People are abandoning the Fast less and less at New Years. There are Communist New Year’s Parties where (out of respect for Believers) a table groans under the weight of delicious Lenten delicacies… lobster, shrimp, oysters, herring, caviar, savoury Persian and Caucasian vegan treats, Lenten pirozhki, stuffed grape leaves, falafel, and so much more. Plus, there’s an open bar of the best champagne, vodka, and Cuban & Haitian rum. Of course, they have a table full of meat and dairy items for secular people. However, those Comrades who observe the Nativity Fast can keep both the letter of the Church’s law and, with moderation, its spirit.

That’s why many keep the Old New Year… it allows them to have the meat n’ dairy delicacies that they abstained from on 1 January (many Orthodox Christians abstain until 7 January, the Julian date for the Nativity). Then, there are the party animals, for whom any excuse will do for a shindig.

To the Old New Year! Lift a glass and cheer!

BMD

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Saturday, 25 November 2017

25 November 2017. Another Grumpy Cat Meme… On Black Friday

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I was NOT in any store yesterday. Save for grocery shopping, I tend to avoid malls and stores during the holiday rush. It’s just too DEPRESSING. Am I the only person to note that most of the people that you see are harried and frazzled, not in any holiday mood at all? However, the nadir-point of it all is Black Friday… a day that I call “the Black Mass of American Consumerism”. Note well that those who organise and take part in this charade fancy themselves “superior” to the rest of mankind.

I seem to think that it indicates otherwise…

BMD

Saturday, 28 October 2017

28 October 2017. From the Russian Web… Raisin Weekend at St Andrew’s in Scotland

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I saw this image on the Russian web (on vK, to be exact). Unlike Anglo Americans, Russians take an active interest in the world and know much about it. This image is of the latest “Raisin Weekend” at St Andrew’s University in Scotland. It’s supposedly #3 in the UK rankings, but many believe that it isn’t as snobbish as the Oxbridge colleges are. Indeed, many of the Oxbridge colleges are inferior institutions tacked onto the university… much like the Catholic college attached to Oxford where Prince George (Mariya Vladimirovna’s idiot son) earned a “gentleman’s C” (that is, a failure for anyone else). The following is taken from the Wikipedia article:

Raisin Weekend celebrates the relationship between the Bejants/Bejantines (First-Year students) and their respective Academic Parents. in St. Andrews’ tradition, the Parents guide and mentor the newbies in their time at University. Tradition says that students went up to study with a sack of oatmeal and a barrel of salt-herring as staple foods to last them a term. Therefore, anything more exotic was a luxury. In return for the guidance from academic parents, a further tradition sprang up of rewarding these “parents” with a pound of raisins. Since the 19th century, the giving of raisins transformed into the giving of a more modern alternative… such as a bottle of wine. In return for the raisins or equivalent present, the “parents” give their “children” a formal receipt (the Raisin Receipt) composed in Latin. Over time, this receipt progressively became more elaborate and often humorous. They write the receipt on anything and the Bejant/Bejantine must carry it everywhere on the morning of Raisin Monday until midday.

Raisin Weekend occurs annually. Affairs often begin with a tea party (or similar) thrown by the “mothers” and then a pub-crawl or house party led by the “fathers”. It’s common for several academic families to combine in the latter stages of the revels. At midday, all the First-Years gather in the Quad of St Salvator’s College to compare their receipts and also to be open to challenge from older students who may look for errors in the Latin of the receipt (an almost inevitable occurrence). Upon detection of such errors, the bearer may be required to sing the Gaudie. In recent years, the gathering culminated in a shaving-foam fight. Raisin Weekend also became synonymous with binge drinking and a certain amount of humiliation of “academic children”, commonly involving embarrassing costumes or drinking games. The University Students’ Association provides a special First Aid hotline for Raisin Weekend.

BMD

Monday, 17 July 2017

17 July 2017. An Observation on Working-Class Football Culture in Europe

“Ваше место тут” (“Your place is here”… idiomatically, “You belong here”)… the rowdy backers of FK Lokomotiv Moskva in the (in)famous South Stands at Lokomotiv Central Stadium

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You back a side because your dad does; all his mates do, as does the entire neighbourhood. You’ve seen the people going en masse to the matches! It’s neighbourhood and team pride all rolled up in one. If we’re talking REAL football… let’s not forget Fr Christos in Thessaloniki who shows up at all the matches. Some tight-arsed people complained… but the people put up a FB page Hands Off Our Father Christos! The bishop didn’t ban him from the pitch…

Some middle-class people look down their noses at this… but I’d remind them that people CHOOSE their pastimes and that backing this side or that one is a far less harmful occupation than some of the things indulged in by the scornful bourgeois. Indeed…

I do confide that their real problem with it is that it’s “common”…

BMD

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