It snowed in Victoria, BC, this week, great big fluffy flakes that created a winter wonderland overnight. This is very unusual weather for our little corner of the world, and I was eating a lot of humble pie because of my previous gloating about how warm and snow-free we were.
But I wasn’t always such a cold weather Grinch. When I was a kid growing up on the prairies, I always dreamed of a white Christmas, and usually my dreams came true. My memories are a bit like snippets of home movies running through my head, and this week’s snow brought many of them to mind.
One year we went to a Christmas concert in Old Wives, Saskatchewan, where my aunt, uncle, and cousins lived. That night the temperature was a chilly -30 degrees Celsius. I’ll never forget that moment when the door at the back of the community hall swung open, a frosty breeze gusted into the room, and Santa Claus burst in among clouds of mist and blowing snow.
My favourite Christmases were spent at my grandparents’ houses, and the cold winter weather outside was always contrasted by the warm, cozy interior. I still remember the feeling of getting out of the car and walking through the chilly air towards the warm lights shining in the windows. Then the door would open, and we’d shake off our boots and coats and be embraced by people we loved more than words can say, with the smell of cooking and evergreen in the background.
With both British and Romanian ancestry, I remember an eclectic mix of foods. On the British side, there was turkey dinner with Christmas pudding and hard sauce, which confused me a bit when I was a kid because Christmas pudding didn’t seem anything like the chocolate pudding I ate for lunch, and how can a sauce be called hard when it’s soft? Now I love it, though.
On the Romanian/British side of the family, we ate a turkey dinner supplemented with cabbage rolls and perogies. My sister and I also had the privilege of performing Romanian Christmas carols with the Eminescu Romanian Dance Group in Regina, Saskatchewan. We performed them both for an audience and also at people’s homes. I didn’t realize it at the time, but in doing so, we were continuing an important tradition from the old country.
We sang two songs: Steaua sus răsare and Sorcova Vesela. Recently I’ve been researching these songs and the customs surrounding them so I can understand them better and write about them in a future blog post.
In the meantime, no matter what kind of weather you find yourself in, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas that becomes a beautiful memory to look back on. Now that the snow in Victoria is gone, I’m looking forward to a Christmas that looks a bit more like this. 🙂