Friday, December 01, 2006

'Tis the season...(for a bit of miscellaneous rambling)

In the same location where the craft fair is held in August--the center of the old city in Krakow, called the Rynek--there is also a Christmas fair. Some of the vendors are the same ones--my favorite artisan is always there--but no one is demonstrating their craft. Not everyone who comes to the craft fair comes to this. Most of the offerings are related to Christmas--either gifts, decorations, food, or music. There is always a delectable array of handmade glass ornaments, traditionally decorated gingerbread, and a collection of silly hats. I think the silly hats are on offer because immediately after Christmas comes New Year and "Karniwal" when it is traditional to dress up.

I've been watching to see when the fair would open, and last Tuesday (just before I got sick, but I haven't bothered writing about that) I visited the fair while E. was having her craft class. I didn't take pictures because it was after dark (it gets dark around 4pm right now) and foggy on top of that. However, there was something new at the fair that will be fun for everyone to visit--reindeer!

They had two live reindeer, sporting tall, shaggy "racks" or "antlers." There was a sign stating that pictures were not allowed, but since there is no penalty for ignoring signs like that (at least, not that I'm aware of), people were flashing digital cameras and cell phone cameras at them continuously. Because of the dark and fog, you could see the flashes like fireworks--flash, flash, FLASH. No one was being discreet about it. The reindeer didn't seem to mind, and the way-too-American Święty Mikołaj (Santa Claus) didn't object either. I wonder why they bother putting up the sign?

I wandered among the booths enjoying the Christmas music, trying to pick out ornaments to buy for the kids' collections this year, and looking for anything new or unique. I bought a serving of smoked sheep's cheese for E, who loves it (I don't) and a new Christmas CD. Next visit will have to be during the daytime and with the kids, and then I'll try to take some pictures.

I'm planning to devote part of my blogging time in December to writing about Polish Christmas traditions. I doubt I'll cover them all, and some of them are not exclusively Polish but belong to other slavic countries or Europe in general.

As I mentioned earlier, I have been sick much of this week. K began to be sick Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and then both K and C were sick on the holiday. They continued through the weekend, and then C began to be better while K morphed from having stomach flu to a dreadful cough (bronchitis). I called the doctor for K on Tuesday and because he was busy, arranged for him to come see her on Wednesday. That worked out for the best, because I became dreadfully sick Tuesday evening after my visit to the fair, running a fever and having chest congestion. The doctor, kind soul that he is, took a look at three patients on Wednesday (examining C and pronouncing her fine, which I expected), but only charged us one fee.

And thus begin the holidays. I'm feeling better today after several days of feverish misery during which time I did some light reading and not much else. The kids have already broken into the Christmas movies, but apart from that, it doesn't look very festive at our place. Yet.


At 9:21 PM , Blogger Firefly said...

I will be praying that you will all be well for the upcoming holidays. At least you are making good progress with your books! ;) God bless!

At 12:24 AM , Blogger Mama Squirrel said...

I'm sorry to hear you've been sick! We don't get "festive" around here until into December sometime. But I do have to track down some Advent candles tomorrow.

At 12:51 PM , Blogger Phyllis said...

I'll look forward to hearing about Polish Christmas traditions! I assume Christmas in Poland is Dec. 25, not Jan. 7, right?


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