Today is Serbian—or, put better, Orthodox—Christmas. Like many other Christian offshoots, the celebration is on Christmas Eve, with fish soup (and my 6-hour Neely’s Wet BBQ ribs, as well as my attempts to make James Bond’s Vesper Martinis for the family) and here, the laying of hay and sticks all around the house. (I suppose this is an approximation of the manger, but I haven’t gotten a straight answer on that yet.) difference is that children go door to door with a memorized poem/chant, and like a no-costume Halloween, they get oranges and nuts for their troubles. Otherwise, it looks a lot like the Christmases I grew up with in Virginia, with the ornamented tree and presents and too much food (with Serbian food, that’s something to be happy about) and drink (ibid) and lots of relatives. What I mean to say is, it’s a fine time for all. Everyone’s feeling close and warm, and even optimistic about the coming year.

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story behind the movies at Wikipedia

Joseph CampbellMonomyth

Hero with a Thousand Faces

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

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