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The Season of Winter Holidays December 16, 2013

Posted by americanex in Uncategorized.
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At English Club on December, 15, 2013, we talked about the winter holidays here in Ukraine and in the United States.  I can make one observation immediately about these holidays.  Children in Ukraine and children in the United States are all very excited about these coming holidays.  Many other holidays throughout the year are fun for children and adults, but no other holidays are anticipated and dreamed about as much as these holidays. Whether it is Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Saint Nicolas, or Дед Мороз that the children are waiting for, they are all bursting with excitment.

At English Club  especially the younger children, who still see these holidays as a magic time with their families and Дед Мороз, could not sit still for one minute because they were so excited.  Every topic we discussed, from family traditions, decorating the tree, singing carols, to waiting for their presents to arrive only made them more and more excited.  It was a lot of fun to work with them and share their enjoyment of the season, and it was lovely that they went home with their parents.

We did have a lot of fun comparing the holidays.  In the west, we celebrate Christmas on December 25th and then New Years one week later.  These are the major holidays. Christmas is a religious holiday for Christians, with the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ as the reason for the holiday. Most Christians attend church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day for a service that is filled with light and singing. Then Christmas Day is a family holiday with gifts and special food.

New Years Eve is the final celebration and this is more of an adult event with parties and celebrations with friends.  There is champagne at midnight, singing the old Scottish song Auld Lang Syne, and telling the resolutions that you have made for the new year.  It is also traditional for grandparents to stay home with the children on New Years Eve and have a celebration with the children.  New Years Day is a quieter family day, often the day to take down the Christmas Tree, watch American football on television, and pack away the decorations for next year. And, of course, a special meal.  And then the holidays are over for another year. Schools have been closed for about 10 days and will open again on the first weekday after New Years.

While the dates are different in our two countries and the order of the holidays a little different, the traditions are really very similar.  Most Ukrainian holidays have been unfamiliar to me, and even the ones that are the same, like Easter, are celebrated quite differently. But the music and singing, decorations, presents, Christmas Trees, food and time spent with family are very similar in both countries.  Families in both countries celebrate the winter holidays with their own variations of the cultural traditions, and all children look forward to these holidays each year.

This is a time of year that is a challenge for parents all over the world.  We all want our children to enjoy the excitment of the season, while also making sure that they take time to eat and sleep and do their school work.  It is a difficult balance and the smallest thing can send them from joy to tears.  For all of us, the memories are about the warm feeling of being a family and the joy of seeing the holiday through your children’s shining eyes.  So to you and your family, I wish all the joys of this beautiful season.  As we say in America; have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!