Kathleen and 'Matusha' walking home from market

December, 1999:

Killing the Christmas pigWith the holidays here (for Romanians, that's Christmas, New Years, and the anniversary of the Revolution from Dec. 21st till Christmas).

Christmas means killing the pig and harvesting all that delicious meat.

We had a much warmer December than normal, so folks took advantage of the snow free weather.


Making an axe handle     

Vasile makes an axe handle.



Warming Kath's hands   



Even global warming eventually gives way to the cold of winter. Kathleen gets her hands warmed by two sisters Maria and Ileana.






With a week to go to, we got our White Christmas.


Newborn Calf    



Some events wait not for the timing of human or nature.

Training baby   



A newborn calf comes into the world and is soon taught how to drink from a bucket.




Another funeral in the village. (Sirbi, Jud. Maramures)








The villagers switched from horse drawn cart to sleigh.

Here the family TV goes to get repaired.





But for us, snow meant the van wouldn't travel. Just to get in our compound, even the grandma leant a hand pushing.



Taking chains to get fixed.   




So we were glad when we finally found some chains in a store. But they were meant for a large truck, so we had to take them to one of the village blacksmiths.


Walking to the blacksmith   

We finally realized a toy sleigh would work much better.


Blacksmith and chain   




Petru and the his cousin cut the length down to size,



Hitching a ride   

then we hitched a ride for our sleigh from a passing horse drawn carriage.








Snowmen in Road   


And now snow is no obstacle at all...
except for the wandering snowmen.


Cracking walnuts   

Christmas preparations include making a wide variety of special cakes. Ileana cracks open walnuts that had fallen from her tree.


Unexpected guest   

And another Ileana entertains an unexpected, imbibing guest.




Christmas tree   


Dressing the tree, which they call a 'brad.'





And a visit from the 'Christmas Phantom.' This is a tradition intended to scare the bejeebers out of the kids in the village.


Children caroling   


Finally, it's Christmas day, and time for Carols.

Christmas singing here is like a combination of Caroling and Trick or Treat. Once they finish a single song, the kids come in for some special Christmas cakes and money.


Old ladies singing   



If you ask them, the old women will get together and sing.




Ladies comparing Christmas notes after church.




Walking home from Christmas services.




Christmas dance   



After Christmas services, there's the Christmas dance.




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