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The Path to Orthodox Christmas

After January 1st Russians begin to prepare to the holiday of Nativity of Jesus Christ. It is interesting to observe the difference in traditions and approaches to the celebration of the turn of the year.

In the West, Christmas comes first, then New Year, and then the work begins. The year ends with a big festival, and then the bleak midwinter settles in.

In Russia, New Year opens a week-long family holiday. It is followed by Russian Orthodox Christmas. Some very religious families shun the New Year feast because they are fasting and celebrate the Nativity instead. But either way, in Russia we begin the year with a festival and a feast, and I believe it sets the tone.

My January 2nd was also calm and silent, although by the evening I collected myself to write in which fields I want to carry my work in 2023. I updated the Christmas Calendar and slept a lot.

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Christmas Tree Challenge: Day 30

The Christmas tree decorations stir imagination and produce the spell-binding effect on children and adults alike. In my childhood we used to set the tree on the last day of December. In fact, everything was happening on December 31st: cooking, cleaning, taking a shower, decorating, eating, naturally. At my age I can hardly believe I could do the same kind of marathon now. So I prefer to do my shopping and decorating before December 30th.

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Christmas Tree Challenge: Day 28

I spent today at the ArtPlay creative quarter in Moscow. I had a fantastic photo session in a studio with a photographer. ArtPlay itself is a fantastic place and I hope to have more time to explore it. A brief acquaintance has shown that it’s located in the premises of a former factory and is packed with all sorts of shops, studios, boutiques, and cafés.

This part of town is virtually unknown to me. I followed the YouTube video showing the way to the studio, and on my way I passed the 19th century buildings that could previously house residences but are now usually home to civil service offices. Alas, it was also quite slippery, so I had to take extra care going there and back.

Going to ArtPlay was like visiting Manchester to me. Made of red brick and located close to the railway station, with its plethora of various studios and outlets, it was like an open-air Affleck’s Palace, and all murals and witty inscriptions reminded me of the Northern Quarter. Throw all the Christmassy lights in – and the déjà-vu feeling was almost palpable. More still, the folk who worked there were like the good old Mancunians, complete with green or pink coloured hair, tattoos and piercings, odd clothes and accessories, and the obvious struggle to make ends meet.

I watched it all from both sides: as a person who once belonged to this kind of place and life (except hair dyes, tattoos and piercing) and who now felt transported back into this old experience; and as a person who no longer belonged there, and probably never did, but who had once made an honest effort to live there.

Suddenly ArtPlay came to mean much more than just a clever name…

Christmas Tree Challenge: Day 27

It wasn’t a particularly eventful day by any account. I spent it giving final lessons to some of the students whom I will see in January 2023.

But I was preparing to something more exciting, which I haven’t done for a long while. I have drawn a list of things I need to do and to take with me, and I’m looking forward to this not-so-new experience on Wednesday.

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Christmas Tree Challenge: Day 26

I spent Christmas Day on December 25th walking around Moscow. My friend and I rambled the streets in the city centre that had been decorated almost as lavishly as before. This year the Muscovites voted for decorating the city but against other kinds of festivities. We walked past the Moscow Mayor’s house and the Bolshoi Theatre and stopped at a nice cafe in Marosseika St. Then we went past Zaryadye Park and St Basil’s Cathedral and GUM to the metro and so went home.

The Moscow Mayor’s House
The ornamental gate opposite the Mayor’s office, near Stoleshnikov Lane
A decoration in front of the Bolshoi Theatre
More decorations, TsUM shopping mall in the background
The panorama of Teatralnaya Sq

Christmas Tree Challenge: Day 25

Christmas Day has arrived, and I want all of you who celebrate it today to have a very warm-hearted season. Please keep close to your near and dear, support each other, yet do not forget to take care of yourself. And remember: there is always an angel, like the ones at the top of this magnificent and splendid Xmas tree. Try believing in them and see what miracles happen!

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Christmas Tree Challenge: Day 19

Yesterday we celebrated the victory of Argentina at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. I also attended a meeting with my colleagues when we drew a line to our 3-month course together. It was a great evening, and I started the penultimate week of the year 2022 in an excellent mood.

I also dedicated some time to erasing and closing some projects I never even got to begin. I spent the whopping five hours writing them all down and another half hour burning them, but in the end I experienced a great surge of energy! And hence I chose to post a purple Xmas tree as a symbol of connection to Logos which should now be easier.

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Christmas Tree Challenge: Day 18

This year there’s a lot of talk about the Transition into 5D. I don’t follow it much but I acknowledge that something is about to happen. The energy flow is palpable, and people behave in a way they normally don’t.

What’s the recipe for keeping your sanity at this time of year? Apparently it is following your own heart and giving yourself time to implement the changes you want to see in life.

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