This was my first year where I spend Christmas outside of my family or my country. It was an interesting experience, because here in Macedonia Christmas is Celebrated on 6th and 7th of January, so we celebrated it in a period where everything was normal on the streets of Prilep.
But, nevertheless, it was a good experience because the family and the best friend of Vanessa, my colleague in the project was visiting her here, and we went to a house of another volunteer from another project to make a party there. So, on the 25th me, Germain and Emma went there around 7 PM to prepare the place. Vanessa was there with her best friend, Natasha, and they were decorating the place in a Christmas atmosphere. Then we prepared the table with all kinds of snacks and drinks, and Natasha started cooking an omelette. After this, Vanessa cooked some pasta, so we enjoyed some good food during the party.
Around 9 PM the parents of Vanessa arrived, and we talked for a while, after that some friends of Vanessa came too, and we started to drink and dance all the night. It was a very pleasant atmosphere because we were a pretty diverse group of people from different countries, and we had the chance to celebrate Christmas together in a new way.
Also, at the end of the party I had some Romanian sarma to offer to the people that were still there, so they had the chance to taste the traditional Romanian Christmas food.
On the other hand, in Romania on Christmas Eve we usually go caroling among friends or family. When I was younger I would go with my father and my brother to carol to our grandparents, our close family friends and to our neighbors. They would usually offer us cakes, juice and sometime money. Later, when I grew up, I would go with my colleagues from school to carol to their homes, and we would stay until the morning usually, so we would pass by everyone’s house.
On the day of Christmas, we usually open the presents, and spend some time with our families, and eat a lot of sarma, cake and drink wine. Also we go on the second round of caroling, so if we didn’t finish the day before we would continue. In general it is a really good atmosphere for Christmas, where everything is decorated on the streets with lights, and in the houses of people also there is the Christmas tree which is decorated in different ways and sometimes the whole house.
So now I am waiting to see how the people in Macedonia celebrate it and to see the flavour of the Christmas holiday in a different time and place.
Written by: Catalin Popsor