Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

6 February 2019. Don’t Try This At Home… Las Luminarias Festival in Spain

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On the eve of the Catholic feast of St Anthony (17 January), the Las Luminarias festival occurs in the village of San Bartolomé de Pinares in Spain. People ride horses through bonfires in order to rid the beasts of sin, purify them, and to give them protection for the coming year. Oh, yes… they cheat… they douse the horses in water before riding them through the fire. The locals build around 20 bonfires; around a hundred horses and riders take part. Don’t try this at home…

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

Thursday, 26 November 2015

26 November 2015. Happy Thanksgiving From Us to You

00 dozhinki belarus 261115

Dozhinki (Harvest Thanksgiving) celebration in Belarus

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Today is American Thanksgiving… the rest of the world already had Thanksgiving… usually, it occurs around the Harvest (as it does in Canada, occurring in October). That’s so that events can take place outdoors; people set up tables in the yard and feast outside. It’s a festival of thanks for the harvest, so people take the first-fruits to the church for blessing (and distribution to the poor afterwards). Thanksgiving didn’t begin with the English Puritans… it’s an ancient and venerable holiday, known to all peoples.

Have a wonderful day with your family and friends…

BMD

Friday, 18 April 2014

18 April 2014. Easter’s On Its Way… Making Easter Eggs in Yekaterinburg

00 Easter 01. Assumption Cathedral Yekaterinburg. 18.04.14.

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They’re gettin’ ready for Easter in Yekaterinburg (that’s in the Urals… it’s where the Imperial Family suffered martyrdom). People at the Assumption Cathedral are making Easter eggs for the weekend services. Yes, Virginia, things are achingly NORMAL in the Mother Church… thank God for that! Get those last-minute things done… it’s almost here! Remember… the Easter Bunny’s legit… he’s on pre-Revolutionary Easter cards with “Christ is Risen” on ’em… let your kids have some FUN…

BMD

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