Mir Bozji, Hristos se Rodi! Vaistinu se rodi!
Peace of God, Christ is born! Indeed he is born!
American Serb kids always considered themselves so lucky, because they had "TWO" Christmases (and if you were lucky enough to have Sveti Nikola as your Slava, it was like you had THREE!)
How's that? Well, in our house, we celebrated what we called "American" Christmas on Dec. 25with most of the other people of the world. To us, it was Santa Claus, a decorated Christmas tree and presents that we opened in earnest. Only six days before on Dec. 19, however, we also got a present of sorts: a long heavy-duty cotton-nylon stocking filled with apples, oranges and nuts and a silver dollar at the bottom that came from St. Nicholas.
But our "REAL" Christmas, we knew, the celebration of the Birth of Jesus, was on January 7. We never went to school that day, nor on our Slava! We went to church, and celebrated the great day with our larger Eastern Orthodox Christian family!
Is Serbian Christmas still celebrated?
Yes, American Serbs are STILL celebrating their unique heritage guarded so jealously and handed down from generation to generation.
Mir Bozji, Hristos se Rodi!
Peace on Earth, Christ is Born, glorify Him!
Badnji Dan (January 6th) in Aliquippa, PA.
The young oak tree, the "Badnjak" or Yule Log is loaded into the truck after the St Elijah Choir sang "Rozdestvo" and the V.Rev. Fr. Stepanov blessed the tree especially planted for just his occasion.
Ready to go back to others waiting at church.
Watching the sparks in front of the church center.
St.Elijah, Aliquippa, PA 2012
Oj Badnjace, badnjace, ti nas stari rodjace,
Dobro si nam doshao, i u kuchu ushao
Mili Srpski badnjace, ti nas stari rodjace
Badnjace, badnjace, rodjace, rodjace.
Members of the Ohio Valley Marine Corps detachment are an important part of the ceremonies each year at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Pittsburgh. They send off a 21-gun salute to the Badnjak, making the ceremony even more colorful for the many families gathered.
Families gathered together at Holy Trinity in Pittsburgh's White Hall section on Badnje Vece.
Each family takes home a piece of the Badjnak to an honored place in the home for Serbian Christmas.
Everybody loves the closeness of family!
And from Holy Trinity's PAST Christmas Eve Badnjak services is this photo with V. Rev. Fr. Milan Savich, Sam Vignovic and Mike Milan by fire.
Press on the link below to learn more about Serbian Christmas Customs courtesy of the Serbian Unity Congress (S.U.C.) where you'll find great info about the "Polaznik"-representing Christ himself coming into the World!
Serbian Christmas Customs<----click here
On the morning of 7th January, at Christmas, the first man who comes into our house is called the "Polaznik". He comes full of good wishes and with a good heart. He brings happiness to the family.
The Polaznik takes his stick and stirs up the embers in the fire and says:
Polaznik tapom promjea ar u vatri i kaze:
"Koliko varnica, toliko ovaca! Koliko varnica, toliko novaca! Koliko varnica, toliko zdravlja!"
"As many sparks, may you be blessed with as many sheep! As many sparks, may so much money and riches come to the family! As many sparks, so to you all good health!"
The family offers him kolivo (wheat & sugar and nuts) and red wine, which he takes prior to leading the Blessing for the family. Before lunch, while the fire burns, the family readies the roasted pig and everything else for Christmas dinner. For sure on the table would be found "schlivovitz" -old plum brandy, dry figs, shenitsa (wheat grown since St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 19) , which harvests indicates a happy year.
Hosts and guests stand around the table, and the head of the family, usually the father, lights a candle. This moment marks the beginning of "Mirboenja" (peace and reconciliation). Everyone says, "Mir Bozji, Hristos se Rodi!" (Peace of God, Christ is born!) Then they all kiss each other to the peace of God! If there were any disagreements and quarrels before, all is forgotten. "Vaistinu se rodi!" -Indeed He is Born! goes the refrain!
@1984: Takashi, +Gus, Nick, Mama and Papa Bizic turned the Kolach. Papa made the sign of the cross with the knife, cutting the bread into 4 pieces. Everyone kisses the bread and each other, and whoever finds the coin inside the bread is supposed to be lucky all year!
Nick's picture entitled "Teti Ann Finds the Coin!" dated 1/7/79 shows Nick's aunt jumping up into the air, kicking her heels together in joy after finding the coin in the Cesnica (kolach), knowing she is promised "Good Luck" in the coming year. Note the pig's head on the table with the apple in his mouth, the 3 homemade beeswax candles, the straw and coins under the table, and the St. George painting to the far right!
Here's a photo from the past. This photo was prepared for Milan Karlo who was anxious to fit it in his January, 1948 issue of American SERB LIFE. However, in those days, months were needed ahead of time to publish the information. This photo was taken in October or November of 1947 so it could be included in the Christmas issue. The "straw" my grandfather, Nikola Mamula, was reaching for was nothing but crushed-up paper in a bag. Our 'psenica' was a snake plant! But at least Baba had time to make us a Pogacha for the procession!
Sister Rose is the smallest walking, cousin Marty An is behind her, and I'm the tallest walking. Cousin Paul is in Aunt Marty Belosh's arms. Papi was 77 yrs. old at the time.)
Papi (Nikola Mamula married Andja Mamula on December 7, 1900 in Pittsburgh, PA) making the three Beeswax candles for us.
From the Christmas issue, American SERB LIFE magazine, January, 1948, Milan Karlo, Editor and Photographer
From a speech given by Milan Karlo for the First Serbian Youth Conference in Pittsburgh during the 40th Anniversary celebration of the SNF.
Danny Kukich Family Celebrates:
Our grandparents would be proud to know that we're still keeping the family traditions alive!
More Photos:Christmas Day with Our Mamula Family
"Oce Nas" (Our Father) prayers are said first, followed by a chorus of "Rozdestvo!"- Jesus' Birth! The straw was under the table representing the manger where Jesus was born, and the "dushitsa" candle was lit to remember all of our ancestors.
And then the passing of the bread (pogacha/kolac/chesnica) with the lucky coin!
Wait! Who's coming to add to our Xmas joy?
Baba Cheri tells Michael how lucky he is to be Serbian!
"Oro se vije, kraj monastira!"
Rozdestvo Tvoje, Hriste Boze nas, Vozsija mirovi sjet razuma Vnembo zvjezdam sluzasci zvjezdoju ucahusja. Tjebje klanjatisja solncu pravdi; I tebje vjedjeti svisoti vostoka, Gospodi, slava Tebje!
, , . ; , , !
Here's an old version of "Rozdestvo" from Steve Kozobarich's blog on old Serbian music.
"Rozdestvo" <------click here to hear
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, Raised the light of knowledge in the world; And those who worshiped the stars were thought by the stars To worship Thee, O sun of Justice, And to know Thee as the East of the heights, O Lord, glory to Thee!
Happy Holidays to ALL!
From a Christmas card purchased in the Serbian Orthodox Church in Lansing, IL
You can zoom to make this bigger! Enjoy!
Here's a great story about the wonderful ZIVKOVICH family of Pittsburgh's Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Cathedral keeping their Christmas traditions alive:
"Celebrating the HOLY days: Serbian Orthodox Recognize the Season Through Practices Rich in Tradition," by Dona Dreeland, Pine Creek Journal of January 8, 2009, p. 13, 19.
From the American SRBOBRAN (Amerikanski SRBOBRAN) Sreda, 20 Maya, 1992, R'cvd.12/28/09
by Olivera Beljakovich-Terzich (1922-1990)
Translated by her son, Dr. Branko Terzic
Christmas approaches, busily we prepare
A fire blazes on the hearth,
Carols fill the air.
Carols to God and liberty,
Carols to God and family,
As long as Your glory we celebrate,
As long as Your hymns we venerate,
A Carol to a mother's distant grace
A Carol for us, strangers in this place.
Return us dear God so we may see,
Our Serbian nation again free.
Boi dolazi, sve se sprema
Ha ognjity Vatra Gori
Pjesma se pjeva
Pjesma Bogu za Slobodu
Pjesma Bogu i svom rodu
Pesma majci i daljini
Pjesma nama u tudjini
Dok se slavi ime trovje
Dok se pjesme tebi poje
Uzvati nam mili Bogu
Sprskom rodu ti slobodu
The Serbian section editor of the SRBOBRAN, Dr. Branko Mikasinovich, wrote how he read with excitement Olivera Beljakovich-Terzich's poem, that had been written in 1966.
"The poem indicates the talent and sensitivities felt by the intimacies and depths of the heart. From this arises a poem that is clean, unpretentious and written with humility. The poem is of impressive quality and expresses Olivera's love of her ancestors-Serbia- and her race/relatives with poignancy. Lyrical Olivera characterizes lightness of expression, poignancy and motherly sensibilities."
Dr. Mikasinovich also worked for Voice of America, Serbian Service, and is a well-recognized figure in Serbia today.
Nothing like the radiance of a child's face...
Srecan Bozic i savko dobro u novoj godini
A Joyous Christmas and Every Good Wish for the Coming New Year!
(My Cyrillic version disappeared! Hmmm!)
S Mirom slavi badnji dan
Nek ti radost kroz dom tece
S mirom slavi Badnje vece.
(in this quietude of joyfully awaiting Christmas eve, May happiness flow throughout your home, this beautiful, peaceful Christmas Eve.)
MIR BOZJI, HRISTOS SE RODI!
Peace of God, Christ is Born!
+++Cyrillic+++Again, it's Gone!
Nek je srecan badnjak novi
Bog nek vas blagoslovi,
Nek Vam srecom dom zablista
Na Rodjendan Boga Hrista!
May your new yule log bring luck
May God's blessings be upon you
May your home shine from happiness
On the birthday of our Lord, Jesus Christ!
From Mary Paich-2010
From Deacon Blagoje & Matuska Kathy Siljegovic
From Robin Rombach, Pittsburgh Post-Gabette photographer!
(Mim Bizic with some of the Serbian Christmas items: psenica, kolach and the bread baked with a lucky coin.)
Moon woman keeps Serbian Orthodox Christmas customs alive
Thursday, January 07, 2010
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Perched in a sunny spot on Mim Bizic's kitchen counter is a glass bowl that, at first glance, appears to be green grass growing from a bed of pebbles.
But the pebbles are grains of wheat that have broken open to release the shoots of new life -- a biblical metaphor for Jesus' death and resurrection taken from the Gospel of John. This tiny garden of wheat is a psenica (SHEN-it-za), a Christmas tradition in the Serbian Orthodox Church, which keeps to the Old Calendar date of Jan. 7
The seeds are planted in a bowl Dec. 19, St. Nicholas Day, and watered after a recitation of the Lord's Prayer. Waiting for them to grow is a spiritual exercise.
"Isn't it a fun way to pass the short, dark days waiting for the birth of Christ?" said Ms. Bizic, who retired five years ago as a librarian in the Quaker Valley School District. The green wheat is held tall and straight by a circlet of ribbon in the Serbian national colors of red, blue and white.
"When you first put the wheat in, you wonder if it will grow. But then you see it put out these little knots, and then the shoots. You can see it grow the next day and the next. It fills you with happiness," she said.
Her home in Moon has been fully decorated for Christmas, which she joked that she celebrates three times. There is St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 19, and then Dec. 25 for what she calls "American Christmas," complete with presents. But the holy day, and the day of the most treasured customs, was always Jan. 7.
She is the granddaughter of Serbian immigrants who grew up on the South Side. She never felt odd for celebrating Christmas in January. Her German and Lithuanian friends enjoyed participating in the family celebrations with her.
There was the Christmas tradition of lighting three candles -- in honor of the Holy Trinity -- while reciting the Lord's Prayer. There was also a tradition of baking a coin into a special loaf of bread, which was passed around the table as a hymn was sung. The coin was supposed to bring luck to whoever found it.
Ms. Bizic is recording all of these traditions and many more on her Web site www.babamim.com -- the name means Grandma Mim. It's a virtual museum of Serbian culture, which her home has been for many years. Just inside the front door visitors are greeted with a portrait of Karadjordje, who led the Serbs to independence from the Turks in 1804. Every wall is filled with icons, folk art and family mementos.
All of this she passed along to her son, Nick, who is teaching it to his 3-year-old daughter, Jocelyn. Ms. Bizic's Web site includes a series of photographs in which she and Jocelyn prepared a psenica. Her son has also spread the tradition to some of his Texas neighbors.
This year her parish, St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, sold kits to make psenicas. The proceeds will be sent to Kosovo to buy firewood.
"Even though we might not make that much money selling the kits, we're keeping the custom alive for harried families who might not have the time to go shopping to a specialty store to buy loose wheat," she said.
On Christmas, the psenica takes its place at the center of the family table, where it is part of all of the family prayers and rituals.
Afterward it is given to the birds.
"We bless ourselves and make a grand send-off," Ms. Bizic said. "We say, 'We thank you, psenica, for being with us and making us happy through this whole season of expectation.' "
Ann Rodgers can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1416.
Mir Bozji, Hristos se Rodi! Vaistinu se Rodi! 2010
St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church Christmas Day
(Click lower right hand corner to enlarge photo)
Every Badnji Vece (Serbian Christmas Eve on January 6!) , at 4:00 PM, a line of cars and trucks decorated with Serbian flags (trobonicas) leaves St. Elijah Church area in Aliquippa, PA, in a parade-like caravan, to head towards the Serbian picnic grounds behind the Serbian cemetery. Their mission is to cut down the Yule Log and bring it back for waiting parishioners who will each take a piece of the Yule Log home before Christmas Eve services later that night. (See above photos)
After the tree is cut at the picnic grounds, and Fr. Stepanov blesses it, a loud cannon booms a 3-cannon salute. Joyously, the St. Elijah Choir sings "Rozdestvo Tvoje" (Thy Nativity Oh Lord!) and "S'nami Bog!"(God is with us!") before heading back caravan-style to the Church Hall.
The 3-barrelled cannon was made by St. Elijah long-time member, Mike Rebich. He invented and designed the three-barrel cannon to do the honored 3-gun salute. Mike says his inspiration was Fr. Stepanov's recollections as a young boy in the old country where the custom of shooting guns off on Christmas Eve was to let others know your village/city is celebrating the birth of Christ.
(Immigrant Serbs in Douglas, Alaska from 1900 can be seen doing the same in old-time photos!)
Mike proudly calls his invention "Holy Trinity."
"Holy Trinity" is put into operation on Christmas Day also. At the end of the morning church service, Fr. Stepanov says triumphantly, "Mir Bozji, Hristos se rodi!" (Peace on Earth, Christ is Born!")
The congregation excitedly responds, "Va Istinu se rodi!" (Indeed He is Born!")
And the cannon produces a loud boom outside which makes everyone so happy in remembrance of all the memories shared in years gone by.
Again and again it's repeated (3 Times in all)
"Mir Bozji, Hristos se Rodi!"
"Va Istinu se Rodi!
And another blast and another from "Holy Trinity".
(This has been done for so many years now, the surrounding neighbors/residents of Aliquippa know they have nothing to fear!)
Mike is a skilled electrician and now we can add a talented innovator as well. Mike has always donated his services to the church and to the Diocese. He and his wife Marie attend church services regularly. Marie sings in the St. Elijah Choir and also the KCC Choir on special Holy Days.
Mike and Marie Rebich's children include Eli, Betty, Mike, Yvonne, Danny and Lynette.
They have 17 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild with another on its way!
God bless them for sharing their wonderful gifts!
Milan, Milan Sr., Melanie, Nicky Tomich of Pittsburgh, PA.
Hear Melanie's Mother sing TIHA NOC (Silent Night) in Serbian here from January 6, 1956, thanks to the great computer efforts of Melanie's husband Tim. Tosho Erdel sings Silent Night in English.
I just love this! I've played it over and over!
Mir Bozji, HRISTOS SE RODI!
Badnji Vece, Christmas Eve Among the Serbs
by Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic
December 1, 2010
BADNJAK-from the St. Sava Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA,1974 with the help of Fr. Milan Markovina, by Branko & Milka Miric, in memory of their daughter, Jovanka, who was killed in an automobile accident.
Last Wednesday night at St. Elijahs Choir practice, many song sheets were spread on the beneath-the-church Hall tables, including this time, some Christmas music.We were preparing for a concert at Old Economy Village in Ambridge that included various ethnic choirs.But lo and behold!There was also an old BADNJAK book from 1974 that was from the Serbian Singing Federation in America under one of the piles, probably placed there by serendipity and waiting to be discovered.
To put this in time perspective, there was this note on the inside cover:Approved by the Episcopal Council Serbian Orthodox Church in America, and the names of Rt. Rev. Bishop Dr. Sava, Rt. Rev. Bishop Dr. Firmilian, and Rt. Rev. Bishop Gregory.
The rich and colorful ceremony of the Badnjak (Yule Log) brings a unique warmth to the celebration of Christmas.The basic elements of the log, the fire, the dried fruits and nuts, the grains, and the Lenten pogaca (flatbread) deliver us over to the humble spirit of the manger.Here we discard the commercialism of our times and return to the pastoral beauty of the first Nativity.We abandon sophistication and enter into the simple and pure joy of the shepherds.Status in life does not matter here, for it is transcended by our common aspiration to the higher love of God and neighbor.This is the spirit of Christmas.
That was enough for me.All during choir practice, while our directress, Marion, was working with the sopranos, altos and basses, I kept glancing through the yellowed pages, anxious to read more.It was like finding a little treasure as it said it contained the explanation and origin of the Yule Log ceremony as celebrated in the Serbian Orthodox home, and the rituals of the Badnjak and the Badnjidanski Kolac (Christmas Eve bread.)It was written in Church Slavonic and Serbian, with an English translation, and was taken from Lukicev Zbornik, mainly a collection of Serbian choral works for male chorus published in Serbia.Best of all, it contained a television text for an adaptation of these rituals with explanation, carols and liturgical responses suitable for a half-hour TV presentation.
How well I remember how our Pittsburgh area Serbian churches would always appear on the radio or on KDKA TV before (60s) and around (70s) this time!Much of it was due to the hard preparation PR work by Milan Tomich, Fr. Velimir Kovachevich (+Metropolitan Christopher) and +V. Rev. Fr. Stavrophor Milan Savich.Im smiling now as I remember sometime in the early 1960s driving Dane Topich to a TV Channel 4 recording session for Christmas services, and because of the ice under the snow, me gently bumping into another car in the parking lot right before we were to get out of the car! Poor Dane was shook up, but I assured him it was only the bumper! (;-)), and inside we went to join the other Serbian Orthodox College Youth gathered there under Fr. Vel's wings. Joi!!!
The carols and liturgical music are the works of various Serbian composers and arrangers, and some were published earlier by the Serbian Singing Federation in separate editions.This printing was inspired during the SSF presidency of Marko Rakovich, and brought to fruition under the presidency of Mike Lonchar.Many thanks to these gentlemen and the SSF Executive Boards of 1973 and 1974 for their leadership and incentive.A special thanks to Executive Secreatary, Paul Bielich, for his excellent coordinative efforts.
Many people helped to bring this work to fruition.Special thanks were granted to V. M. Lugonja, Executive Secetary Emeritus of the SSF, for proof-reading the texts; to artist Drakse, for the beautiful cover illustrations; to Adolph Musiol for proof-reading the music; to V.Rev. Frs. George Lazich and Milorad Dobrota for music from their libraries; to Della Kosanovich for typing the texts; to the Stevan Sijacki Choir for assembling and distributing the books.V. Rev. Fr. Milan P. Markovina ended the Preface with these words:It is hoped this publication will enhance the spiritual joy of the Nativity for Serbian Orthodox Christians everywhere.
Looking at all these names makes one travel back, back, back in time.. and makes us realize how much love of Serbian heritage and wonderful talent we have lost to the years since.
On Christmas Eve, the Serbian people have the custom of bringing in the Badnjak (Yule Log) and placing it on the hearth.This is a very ancient custom and it exists in many different forms in all European countries.It is most characteristic with the Serbians for it is carried out is a special form on Christmas Eve.
When the Serbs were Christianized, the yule log symbolized the tree upon which Christ was crucified and the ceremony is dedicated to the spiritual light Christ brought into the world through His divine birth and the glad tidings he preached.
For the Badnjak ceremony, a branch is cut from an oak tree which will be placed on a great fire.The following items are needed:
1.A large fire into which the badnjak will be placed.
2.The badnjak, taken from the oak.
3.A large pogaca, unleavened loaf of bread, flat and circular, which should be coated on top with honey, and which is placed in a large dish.This is the badnjidanski dolac.Along with this is placed a bowl pull of wheat, corn kernels, barley and oats (or just wheat), a glass of vegetable oil, a glass of red wine, a large decorated Christmas candle in a holder, a bowl of water, a bouquet of Basil plant, and a bowl of walnuts.
An aisle is formed from the entrance door to the hearth by two rows of celebrants, twelve of them holding candles, six on each side.The badnjicari are preceded by a flag-bearer who carries the flag to the hearth and greets the domacin:Dobro vece domacine, I cestito ti I srecan badnje vece sa svima tvojim ukucanima.
(Flagbearer says:Good evening, O Host, and a joyous and blessed Christmas Eve to you and the members of your household!)
He then places the flag to the side of the hearth.The badnjak is placed in the fire.The badnjicari then take a place to either side of the hearth and remain there to the end of the ceremony.As the badnjicar enter, the choir sings, Oj Badnjace, Badnjace!
The domacin takes the sieve with the grains in it and throws the grains on the badnjicari as they enter and walk toward the hearth.(The domacin does this while standing in front of the hearth.)The domacin answers the badnjicariis greeting with, Bog it pomogao I cestito nam I sretno bilo badnje vece I nastupajuci Bozic.
(Host says:May the Lord be with you and may we have a joyous and blessed Christmas Eve and Christmas on the morrow!)
When the badnjaks are placed on the fire, the domacin approaches them, makes the sign of the cross on himself, and sprinkles them with the grains saying, U ime Oca I Sina I Svetoga Duha, Amin.Badnjace veseljace, mi tebe zitom, a ti nas rodnom I sitom godinom.
(Host says: In the name of the Father, and Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.O joyous yule log!As we sprinkle you with wheat, may the ensuing year be fruitful and plentiful!)
He takes the glass of wine, crosses himself, sprinkles the badnjak and says, U ime Oca I Sina, I Svetoga Duha, Amin.Badnjace, veseljace, mi tebi wina, a ti nama srece, mira I svakog Bozijeg blagoslova!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amin.O joyous yule log!As we sprinkle you with wine, may good fortune, peace, and every blessing of God be ours!
He then takes the glass of vegetable oil, blesses himself, pours the oil on the badnjak saying, U ime Oca I Sina I Svetoga Duha, Amin.Badnjace, veseljace, mi tebi mira, I ti nama zdravlja I napretka u radu I na svakom nasem koraku.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.O joyous yule log!As we sprinkle you with oil, may health and progress, be ours in our work and in each of our footsteps!
At this moment, the guns shoot.
The domacin then takes straw and spreads it around the entire room and finally takes the walnuts and strews them in the form of a cross to the four sides of the room.
During this activity, the choir sings.
In Part II, the Priest and Choir are more involved.The Choir will sing Slava Vo Visnjih Bogu and the Christmas Hymn of Rozdestvo Tvoje and perhaps at the end, Bozic, Bozic, Blagi Dan.
Mirobozanje.Now, all are invited to exchange a Christmas kiss, holding each other above the forearms, and kissing the shoulder, saying, Christ is among us, and the answer:He is and will be.
Dear SRBOBRAN Readers, I wish you the very joyous of holidays to celebrate with your friends and relatives.Since I began writing this story, weve had another choir practice and Ive returned the books from whence the information above came.Last night was a night of love.We distributed the candy we sold as a fund-raiser to all hard-working choir members to further pass on, and we also packed almost a hundred PSENICA kits before practicing our Christmas songs.Some of our psenicas are going to be traveling far this year, with the help of a few SRBOBRAN orders.
We send greetings to all of you, especially Dr. Nanette Wuchenich who purchased 16 full kits from us to distribute to her nieces and nephews, several of them still in collage.May your psenicas grow as beautifully and plentifully as you all did!Too, we should have a research experiment going on to see if psenicas grow greener and taller in sunny California as opposed to here in Pittsburgh where we have some white snow on the ground, or where Stevo and Lana Baich have 4 feet and more of the white stuff in Lackawanna!
Life is good.I had a new Serbian Spruce planted today to replace the one that has been with me since I first moved here to Moon Township twenty years ago.It was as if I could hear the words:
Rejuvenate, rebirth REJOICE!
To all of you,
Mir Bozji, Hristos se Rodi!SNAMI BOG!
Ready for Serbian Christmas
My father, Milan Karlo, wrote this beautiful story called "The Winter Tale", based on an old Serbian folktale. It appeared on the front page in the December 30, 1964 issue of the American SRBOBRAN:
There's a beautiful story making the rounds again this Christmas season of bright smiles, firm handshakes and expressions of good will. It's reputedly fact, although local legend may have been included.
Locale opens in the lot of a poor wood-cutter. He and his young son are busy felling the trees and chopping the same into wood for sale in the local mart, a-swarm with pre-Christmas shoppers.
Eyeing the bundle he is to shoulder to the mart, the youth expresses hope enough that it will be sold to provide a fine meat dinner for the family. The father congratulates him for always looking "on the bright side."
Enroute to the market, the youth is accosted by several people, all of whom warn him about an old man on the edge of town who asks passersby to help him with his load. The old man is described, variously, as a potential thief, a miser, and a lazy bum.
The first "description," as the story goes, comes from a man with a fat goose under his arm. He grins, in a "knowledgeable" way, as he relates how he was too clever to be taken in by the "crafty old codger" who, he alleged, aimed to make off with the goose once it was laid down and the pack picked up.
The second description is furnished by an older boy, a self-styled "go-getter" who first inquired about pay. When told there was none, he turned on the old man with a "miser" charge.
Next, the youth of the story is warned by a man in a handsome fur coat and top hat, leaning on a gold-headed cane. He is shaking in anger and indignation that he, of ALL people, should be asked to carry a peddler's load.
At sight of the bundle of wood on the youth's shoulder, his anger mellows. In his best oratorical tones, he congratulates the youth for "shouldering his own load, not like the lazy old man down on the road."
"He is dressed like a beggar, but he had the AUDACITY to call me his 'friend,'" he related to the youth. Then drawing himself up to his full height, he continued: "I told him, I'm not your 'Friend,' and why you don't carry your own burden instead of sitting there taking your ease?"
The youth's faith in mankind remained unshaken. Eventually, he came upon the "frail old man" with a long, white beard. A rough brown hood was pulled over his face. His hands were blue with cold and he was shivering in his thin, poor clothing.
Yes, he would shoulder the load, he answered. He would pile it atop the one he was already carrying -- and he proceeded to do so. But after several steps, he knew he'd never make it and suggested they proceed the shorter distance back to the boy's home where the old man could be warmed while he (the youth) made two trips to town.
The climax of the story is reached when the old man is bade fond welcome by the youth's mother, "to warm yourself by the fire" as the youth offers to carry his pack to journey's end.
"My journey ends right here," came the reply. And to the astonishment of the family, he said, "The heavy pack belongs to you." All sorts of wonderful things tumbled out of his bag as he unsheathed it: foods, toys, and at the bottom, a sack of gold.
Now the traveler flung back his hood, revealing a noble face and dark eyes shining with love and goodness.
"Bishop Nicholas!" exclaimed the youth's mother as she fell on her knees. He was indeed the kindly bishop from Myra, well known as a generous, saintly man.
As the children knelt for his blessings, he explained that every year he distributed gifts for the Christ child. This year he decided to test the good-will of those who received them, and hence, the "masquerade."
Turning to the boy, he said: "You alone, my son, proved worthy!"
The late V.Rev. Dr. Bishop Nikolai (now St. Nikolai who once lived in Aliquippa for a short while with V. Rev. Vlastimir Tomich while studying) wrote that the Badnjak is the finest and foremost custom of the many traditions by which our people enhance the Christmas celebration. An Oak is chosen because it is usually the most solid tree and produces the most heat.
He called the Badnjak a symbol of "the tree of happiness and sweetness, the tree of health, strength and youth, the tree of life and love. " He continued: "The real tree of happiness is He who was born on that radiant day. Bringing the Badnjak into the house represents Christ's coming into the world and His coming into our homes and our souls."
The Badnjak represents Christ. As a young and powerful tree the King of love gave Himself to be slain in order to rejuvenate the world by the fragrance of eternal youth; to thaw a frozen mankind by the fire of His love; to enlighten and bring joy to all men by the fame of His Divine Revelation."
Erv Dyer, then at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and now with the University of Pittsburgh wrote about St. Elijah's Badnji Vecer in Aliquippa in 2004 and maintaining traditions:
Fr. Stevan Stepanov helped with the explanation:
"One of the key rituals is the burning of the badnjak, or yule log, a young oak tree decorated with red, blue and white ribbons -- the colors of the Serbian flag. The branches are covered with candy and honey, in the hope of a sweet new year to come.
It is highly symbolic of Christ, said the Rev. Stevan Stepanov, who has led the church for more than 20 years.
"Because the tree is young, it represents the Christ child; its hard wood stands for the strength of God; the fire is symbolic of trial and persecution. As the tree burns, its sparks take flight, a symbol of the light that Christians holds for the world; its smoke ascends to heaven, representing the spirit of Christ."
Erv continued his story:
"At St. Elijah, parishioners arrived yesterday afternoon in cars bedecked in red, blue and white ribbons to chop down the young oak tree, which is planted every year, just for this special occasion. A special prayer was recited and a choir sang.
"Afterward, in a church ceremony, the children threw wheat, nuts and coins as the tree passed by. The priest led the way, trailed by altar boys carrying crosses and icons from the altar. The priest blessed the icons, the family and the "home."
"After the liturgy, the Serbs take the badnjak outside and set it on fire. As the sparks fly in the cold air, they say prayers and parishioners are given oak sprigs to take home and place next to their icons."
Read the whole story here:
About the Polaznik:
The Polaznik (prononced "pole-lahz-neek), is the "first-comer." He is supposed to be a young and dark-haired, and brings the family wishes for good fortune. He is greeted with the joyous greeting, "Mir Boziji, Hristos se Rodi!" and exchanges throwing of wheat with his host and hugs and 3-cheeked kisses. He is a symbol of the shepherds who came from the fields at the bidding of the angels to be the first to offer their praise to the newborn Child. So, the polazjnik must greet the family in the same way before being permitted to enter the house. He is usually rewarded with a monetary coin, wine, etc.
Christmas Greetings to all in the American SRBOBRAN:
People look forward to getting the Jan. 7 issue of the SRBOBRAN and greetings from fellow Serbs all over the USA, including the Prince and his family!
So much to be thankful for!
PROUD of their Serbian roots!
The tamburas were full of $$$
"Kazi Leno, Koga Volis?"
From Belgrade to Pennsylvania to Texas, our Grandparents and Parents would be so proud to see how we're keeping up the great traditions and having a ball at the same time!
We absolutely LOVE our customs, our family and friends, world-wide & those in Heaven looking down on us as our Guardian Angels.
Thanks to Steve Kozobarich, we can still HEAR those Guardian Angels of ours. Click on the record below to listen to how THEY celebrated Badnji Dan and the Birth of Christ. Listen for the gunshots at the end. All the villagers did this in the Old Country and even here in America! At St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, PA, we still have someone shoot off the gun three times to welcome the Christ Child born on Christmas Day! Enjoy this treat!
Many people ask how to send Christmas greetings.
"Mir Bozji, Hristos se Rodi!" means "Peace on Earth, Christ is Born!"
People answer back, "Vaistinu se Rodi!" or "Indeed He is Born!"
However, there are greetings that also warm your soul like these from V.Rev. Fr. Petar Petrovich from the Serbian Orthodox Church in Cincinnati:
"Zaista se Hristos Rodi!"
"Neka vase srce bude ispunjeno radoscu i blagoslovom o Bozicnim Praznicima i neka Vama i Vasima Milostivi Gospod daruje zdravlje, naredak i duhovni uzrast u 2010.godini."
"INDEED CHRIST WAS BORN!"
"May your heart be filled with the joys and blessings of this Holy Nativity Season and may Almighty God, grant you and your loved ones good health, prosperity and spiritual growth for 2010."
Click lower right corner to enlarge photo above.
Merry Christmas from the Bizic Family!
Looking good. Added Trobonica (ribbon) today....
From the Parish Bulletin of St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church of Monroeville, 2009/2010.
Cyrillic, original form --
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by St. Bishop Nikolai
No prekrasna i no tija,
nad peinom zvezda sija,
u peini mati spi,
nad Isusom andjel bdi.
to narodi ekae,
to proroci rekoe,
evo sad se u svet javi,
u svet javi i objavi:
Rodi nam se Hristos Spas
za spasenje sviju nas.
Thanks to the lyrical skills of Dr. Branko Terzic,we have this wonderful translation from the poem above:
A night of beauty and silence
Above the manger, the stars in radiance
Within, a young mother somnolent,
Over the Christ, an angel vigilant
Angels voices singing,
Shepherds flutes playing,
Wise men heralding:
That the peoples anticipation
That the prophets prognostication
Now to the world proclaimed
To all announced and acclaimed
Christ is born! The exclamation.
For the worlds salvation.
(Lord have mercy!)
READY TO SING ALONG?
TRY WITH YOUTUBE
MILAN DJURDJEVIC AND FRIENDS
(Copy and paste the above into your browser to hear.)
"Celebrating the birth of Christ is a joyful endeavor. Hearts full of joy affect others. Joyful believers radiate their love of Christ. Individuals experiencing contact with joyful believers react. "
V.Rev. Fr. Rodney Torbic
1/4/10 Sunday Sermon
"May the Divine Light which shown brightly on the first Christmas Night Shine in your heart during this Holy Season."
St. Elijah Church Bulletin
(See YouTube's "Dusan1322")
A. Slavkovich Family sends Christmas greetings too...