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FRENCH CUSTOMS FOR CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS

ON CHRISTMAS DAY THE FAMILY ATTENDED CHURCH TO OBSERVE CHRIST'S
BIRTH, THEN JUST HAD A REGULAR DINNER AT HOME. NEW YEARS WAS THE
DAY ON WHICH THERE WAS A GOOD DEAL OF CELEBRATION. ON ARISING IN
THE MORNING, THE CHILDREN WOULD TRY TO BE FIRST TO ASK THEIR FATHER
FORGIVENESS FOR THE THINGS THEY DID WRONG DURING THE YEAR. HE WOULD
THEN FORGIVE THEM, PREACH TO THEM, AND ASK THEM TO DO BETTER. AFTER
THIS EVERYONE WOULD GET THEIR PRESENTS AND ENJOY THE DAY WITH
RELATIVES AND FRIENDS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: NOT RECORDED BY THE COLLECTOR

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LITHUANIAN CHRISTMAS

ON CHRISTMAS, IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR ALL LITHUANIANS
TO ATTEND TWELVE O'CLOCK MASS. IN THE MEAL
WHICH FOLLOWS, A PLACE IS PROPERLY SET FOR
EVERYONE INCLUDING A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY WHO
MIGHT HAVE DIED THE YEAR BEFORE.

Where learned: LOCATION NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 10-05-1967

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CHRISTMAS EVE CELEBRATION

THE MAIN FEATURE DURING CHRISTMAS EVE IS THE EVENING MEAL CALLED
"HOLY SUPPER" (SVYATA VECHERA). THE SUPPER ON HOLY NIGHT HAS
TWELVE LENTEN DISHES, SYMBOLIC OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES WHO GATHERED
AT THE LAST SUPPER. THESE DISHES OMIT ALL ANIMAL FAT, MILK,
AND MILK PRODUCTS BECAUSE DURING CHRISTMAS EVE THERE IS A STRICT
FAST. THE TABLE IS SET FIRST WITH A SMALL HANDFUL OF FINE HAY IN
MEMORY OF THE CHRIST CHILD IN A MANGER. OVER IT IS SPREAD THE
VERY BEST TABLECLOTH ADORNED WITH NATIVE EMBROIDERY. BREAD (KOLACH)
DECORATES THE CENTRAL TABLE. THE KOLACH IS THREE ROUND, BRAIDED
LOAVES, WHICH IS PLACED ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER WITH A CANDLE
INSERTED INTO THE TOP LOAF, AND THE BOTTOM LOAF IS ENCIRCLED
WITH TINY TWIGS OF EVERGREEN. A LIGHTED CANDLE IS ALWAYS PLACED
IN THE WINDOW AS AN INVITATION TO ANY HOMELESS STRANGER TO JOIN
THE FAMILY IN CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.
PRIOR TO THE EVENING MEAL A SPOONFUL OF EACH DISH IS MIXED INTO
THE FOOD OF THE DOMESTIC ANIMALS, BECAUSE ANIMALS WERE THE FIRST
CREATURES TO BEHOLD THE NEW-BORN CHRIST. THE FIRST STAR IN THE
EASTERN SKY ANNOUNCES THE TIME FOR THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE MEAL.
MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY GATHER AROUND THE TABLE AND BEGIN THE MEAL
WITH THE LORD'S PRAYER. THE FIRST DISH IS KUTYA , A PREPARATION OF
COOKED WHEAT DRESSED WITH HONEY, GROUND POPPY SEED AND SOMETIMES
CHOPPED NUTS. THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY RAISES THE FIRST SPOONFUL
OF THE KUTYA, AND GREETS THE FAMILY WITH KHRYSTOS RODYVSYA}"
(CHRIST IS BORN}), TO WHICH THEY ALL REPLY "SLAVIN YOHO}"
(LET US GLORIFY HIM). AFTER THIS EVERYONE PARTAKES OF THE KUTYA.
KUTYA IS FOLLOWED WITH AN APPETTZER OF PICKLED HERRINGS OR PICKLED
MUSHROOMS, OR WITH A SERVING OF BORSCH (BEET SOUP). AFTER THE
APPETIZERS COMES THE ENTREES. SOME OF THE ENTREES ARE HOLUBTSI
WITH RICE OR BUCKWHEAT (STUFFED CABBAGE), SAUERKRAUT WITH PEAS,
VARENYKY WITH POTATOES OR SAUERKRAUT (DUMPLINGS), AND MAYBE
BAKED BEETS. FOLLOWING THE ENTREES COMES THE DESSERT, SUCH AS
VARENYKY WITH PRUNES, VARENYKY WITH POPPY SEEDS, AND COMPOTE OF
DRIED FRUIT. AFTER THE MEAL, THE FAMILY JOINS IN SINGING CHRISTMAS
CAROLS AND GENERAL MERRY-MAKING. IT IS STRICTLY A FAMILY EVENING.
AFTER MIDNIGHT THE FAMILY ATTENDS A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SERVICE
ENRICHED WITH CHORAL MUSIC. THROUGH THE FOLLOWING DAYS ORGANIZED
GROUPS OF CAROLLERS VISIT THE HOMES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Table setting and clearing
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Menus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Pastry
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Lights and candles
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Straw
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Songs, caroling
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 12-03-1977

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ON CHRISTMAS EVE, THE FAMILY GOES TO CHURCH AROUND 11
O'CLOCK FOR SERVICES AND THEN RETURNS AROUND MIDNIGHT TO
EAT SUPPER.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED IT FROM HER PARENTS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; LIVONIA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 11-00-1967

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ON CHRISTMAS WE ALWAYS WENT TO THREE MASSES. THE FIRST
WAS MIDNIGHT MASS, THEN THE SHEPHERDS MASS AND USUALLY
THE OTHER MASS WAS CHRISTMAS MORNING.

Submitter comment: PRACTICED AS A GIRL AT HOME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 03-10-1967

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EVERY CHRISTMAS, THE FAMILY GOES TO MIDNIGHT MASS, AS THEY
HAVE FOR TWO GENERATIONS. THEN THEY GO TO THEIR UNCLE'S
HOUSE AND HAVE A TURKEY DINNER THAT IS PREPARED WITH A
HOMEMADE STUFFING.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LEARNED IT FROM HIS PARENTS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 25 Christmas Also see F642, below.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 11-00-1967

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NEW YEAR'S EVE CUSTOM

EVERY SINCE I COULD REMEMBER, WE WERE GIVEN SOME SILVER
MONEY TO HOLD IN OUR HANDS AT MIDNIGHT ON NEW YEAR'S
EVE. IF WE DID THIS, WHEREVER WE WERE, AS THE CHURCH
BELLS AND FACTORY WHISTLES RANG OUT THE OLD, AND RANG
IN THE NEW YEAR, WE WOULD HAVE MONEY ALL YEAR LONG
AND WE WOULDN'T RUN SHORT.
WE WOULD KEEP THE MONEY IN A "SAFE" PLACE, AND THEN
THE FOLLOWING CHRISTMAS EVE, WE WOULD PUT IT INTO THE
"POOR BOX" AT CHURCH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.85
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Beliefs
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church

Date learned: 04-00-1965

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