Energy Diet

When We Feel Most ‘At Home’

When considering the category of “at home” on the diet this week, I decided to skip writing about the check boxes, because I’ve touched on many of those topics, and we’ve already checked almost all of them off (except of the usage of green-certified products).

But, when I was going through our photo archive, I found some photos of traditions that we repeat every year during some holidays. These are mostly Christian traditions that are very usual in our country and also in some parts of Europe and the Western world.

First off, it is Easter. One week before Easter, we have Palm Sunday. For this holiday we can buy Palm Sunday bundles, or “butarice,” as we call them (see the photo!) in the market or we can do them at home by ourselves. You can imagine that homemade “butarice“ are much more beautiful and innovative than bought ones, especially because everyone can feel the personal touch in them.

Our homemade Palm Sunday bundles

They can be made from colored wooden fillings or from different, mostly evergreen vegetation, such as ivy, for example. Sometimes people tie oranges on it. Every year in many of Slovenian churches, boys and girls –and sometimes even the adults — have competitions to see whose “butarica” are bigger and which is the most beautiful one.

'Butarice' with the colors of the Slovenian flag

After Palm Sunday comes Easter on the next Sunday. On Saturday before Easter, we color eggs and we draw on them. Sometimes housewives take eggs and put leaves of different plants on the eggs, put all this in women’s nylon stockings, and cook everything together in water full of onion peelings. This is the traditional way of coloring eggs and it gives you a rich red and brown color, except on places were there are plants on the egg – there are white markings in the shape of a plant.

Our egg-coloring set-up

But nowadays we also have artificial colors, and this kind of coloring allows us to draw on the eggs. We usually prepare them in both of the described ways, each year differently. Later on, when the coloring is done, we enjoy drawing on the eggs, and it can take hours and hours of using one’s imagination. Colored eggs are named “pirhi”.

Hard at work drawing

On the same day in the afternoon we put special food (bread, wine, ham, eggs and horseradish) in a basket and we take it to the church to bless the food which we’ve been given.

Decorated 'pirhi'

In some parts of Slovenia, people go home afterward and start eating the blessed food, but in other parts they have to wait until the next day and they can eat blessed food only after the morning mass, which is (therefore) usually very early in the morning.

After the mass children usually take colored eggs and make some competitions about the hardness of eggs. The winner is the one with the hardest shell on the eggs. The reward is that he can keep all the eggs that lost the competition.

The second bigger holiday is Christmas, which is very well known also all around the western world, so I’ll write only about one thing which is different in Slovenia (and I also know for some parts of Austria, Italy and France with the same tradition) – this is the crèche, or “jaslice,” as we call it.

Making the 'jaslice'

Every year on Christmas afternoon we make the “jaslice” at home (and of course in church). During the weeks before Christmas time, we gather moss in the nearest forest. Then we dry it at room temperature, and at this time whole house smells nice and you can almost feel the forest indoors. Inside the “jaslice” there is small stable with Mother Mary, Joseph and little Jesus in the cradle. All around, there are shepherds with flocks of sheep. Of course we also have a Christmas tree. When “jaslice” are done we gather together and we sing Christmas songs and eat Christmas dinner. At midnight we go to church to participate at Christmas mass.

On both described holidays, which are not just Slovenian but have an intangible heritage and the Christian traditions. We have a full and connected life and we enjoy the company of each other. At those times of year we really live our lives “At Home.”