Although we've been Orthodox for almost seven years, we are still learning some of the small "t" traditions like St. Basil's Day bread and how to celebrate one's name day.
Yes, it's true that these things are borrowed from other cultures, but what else can we do? It comes with the territory of being Americans, eh?
Well, I made a gluten free/casein free St. Basil bread the other day by sweetening up a regular quick bread recipe and adding a coin. I like lemony sweet breads so I added a touch of lemon oil. Next year I'll sprinkle almonds on top, too. I did not have any on hand this year, so we skipped that part.
And to add to the general festivities, yesterday I celebrated my name day. It coincides with that of St. Seraphim of Sarov, who is an awesome saint, so I got to go to Divine Liturgy in his honor.
It helps to have a friend from "the old country" to let one in on good ways of keeping a feast such as a name day. How do you celebrate it? How is it different from your birthday?
In some countries it basically is celebrated MORE than one's birthday. And of course Americans are way more "gifty" than in many poorer places.
So, my friend said: "You gotta have flowers on your name day, and cake. And you should go to Church!"
Ok, so the Church thing was settled. The kids learned of what she said, and Bethany made me a cake. We had to go to the grocery store to procure some ingredients, so while we were there, they found some precious little potted primroses they wanted to buy for me.
So I got primroses, a chocolate cake filled with apricot jam and iced with chocolate frosting (all gfcf, of course!) and a beautiful card my youngest daughter made for me. And lots of sweet hugs and good times with my kids.
Since everyone loves cake, this is definitely something we can do!
And now I'd better go add some gfcf dumplings to my chicken soup!